Engaging Parents in School Wellness: Support Learning at Home

July 15, 2014

Schools can link wellness in the classroom with health at home

As parents and teachers know, consistency matters when it comes to health. Parents and schools should be working together to reinforce healthy messages. But how?

First of all, schools can support healthy lessons in the classroom by providing ways that parents can participate. Classroom teachers can design engagement strategies based on what works best for students and their parents. A few ways to provide learning for both students and parents include :

  • Assign healthy homework: Teachers can provide interactive, health-related homework that encourages parent participation. For example, ask parents and kids to both wear pedometers or keep fitness logs for six weeks. Families can meet challenging goals, together!

  • Offer classes or workshops for parents: A PE teacher in Chicago skips his prep period twice a week and offers fitness classes for parents instead. Or invite parents to experience a PE class with their kids and provide information about PE and the benefits to academic performance.

Teachers can also encourage students to educate their parents about health and wellness! Parents will appreciate learning from their kids for a change, kids will love turning the tables, and it’s a great way to involve parents in current lessons.

Schools can also suggest health-related activities for families.

For example:

  • Families can do community health and wellness activities together, such as: 5K walks/runs, farmers markets, community clean-ups, walking and biking to school or even learning Zumba in the living room.

  • Manuel Perez Elementary in Chicago offers ongoing health, fitness, and nutrition workshops presented by its Bilingual Parent Resource Center. These workshops give parents and community members the knowledge, resources, and ability to support Perez in creating a school culture that connects health and academic success.

Consistent messages across school and home will always help reinforce healthy lessons for students.

Download the Parent Communication Calendar here (page 15) for more great ideas.

Read all blogs in this series, here!

Made possible [in part] by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Grant Number: 1H75DP004181-01) to the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Office of Student Health and Wellness, Healthy CPS. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions and official policies of CPS or CDC.