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Healthy School Communities

Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities: How You Can Make A Difference (Ophea)

What is a Healthy School Community?

A healthy school community promotes a culture of wellness for all its members: students, teachers, administrators, principals, staff, parents, and community partners. (PHE Canada)

Comprehensive School Health is an internationally-recognized and effective approach for building healthy school communities. It can be used to address a variety of health issues and can improve health, education, and social outcomes for children and youth.

A Healthy School Community:

  • Recognizes that healthy students learn better and achieve more
  • Understands that schools can directly influence students’ health and behaviours
  • Encourages healthy lifestyle choices, and promotes students’ health and wellbeing
  • Incorporates health into all aspects of school and learning
  • Links health and education issues and systems
  • Needs the participation and support of families and the community at large

How is Student Health Supported in a Healthy School Community?

Health and education are interdependent: healthy students are better learners, and better-educated individuals are healthier.  Research has shown that a Healthy School Community is an effective way to promote that linkage, improving both health and educational outcomes and encouraging healthy behaviours that last a lifetime.

The Halifax Regional School Board encourages and supports schools to promote Healthy School Communities.

Different Terminology, Same Ideas

The term “comprehensive school health” is widely used in Canada.  The approach may also be known as “health promoting schools”, however, the underlying concepts are the same.

What do Healthy School Communities Look Like in HRCE Schools?

HRCE Health Promotion Twitter

Healthy School Communities in HRCE schools involves a wide range of programs, activities, and services that take place in schools and their communities. It combines health instruction; community support and partnerships; and creates supportive environments based on health promoting programs and policies such as the Food and Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Public Schools. These actions are intended to develop over time and to strengthen the school community as a healthy setting for learning, playing, working, and living.

Healthy School Communities provides an overall framework for key school health initiatives in the HRCE including, but not limited to healthy eating, physical activity, youth sexual health, tobacco reduction, addiction, and injury prevention in the school setting.

NSHA Public Health, Central Zone works in partnership with HRCE to support and deliver a number of programs in Nova Scotia schools as part of the Healthy School Communities Initiative; they include:

Healthy School Community (Health Promoting School) Grant

Financial support is available to selected HRCE schools to support cultivating a culture of health promotion through physical activity, healthy eating and/or social & emotional health.

HRCE School Communities Team

Healthy Eating in School Kelly Sherwood, RD
HRCE School Nutritionist
ksherwood@hrce.ca
902-464-2000 x 2180
Healthy School Community Support Melina McNeil
Consultant, English Programs (P-12)
mcneilm@hrce.ca
902-464-2000 x 2660
Extra-Curricular Physical Activity Support Dustin Boudreau
Sports Animator
dustin.boudreau@hrce.ca
902-464-2000 x 4435
Junior High Sports Mary Veinotte
Leader - Extra-Curricular Sports 6-9
mveinotte@hrce.ca
902-464-2000 x 4899

Healthy Communities
NSHA Public Health, Central Zone

Shannon O’Neill
NSHA Health Promoter
ShannonK.Oneill@nshealth.ca
902-220-4651