Best Practices for the Classroom

Create A Healthy Environment

Create a healthy environment in the classroom by incorporating healthy themed bulletin boards and posters. Some ideas for healthy bulletin boards include themes like:

  • Myplate/Food Groups

  • Healthy Snacks 

  • Fruits and Vegetables

  • Whole Grains

  • Types of Protein

  • Serving Sizes 

  • Food Safety 

  • Staying Hydrated

  • Cooking at Home

  • Staying Active During Recess

  • Ways to be Active 

Classroom Rewards

To create a healthy classroom, make sure not to use food as a reward or punishment. By using food items as rewards, students can begin to associate eating treats with positive feelings and emotions. This can lead to behaviors like eating even when one is not hungry, or using food for comfort, which can become a lifetime habit. Instead, offer rewards like books, stickers, extra time for recess, or other activities. Additional Ideas are listed below: 

 

  • Bookmarks

  • Rulers

  • Stickers

  • Magnets

  • Toys (ie. Frisbee, Yoyo)

  • Reading time

  • Extra Credit

  • Computer Time

  • Take a fun physical activity break

  • Free choice time

  • Sit by friends

  • Listen to music while working

  • Field trip

 

 

Have Healthy Celebrations and Fundraisers

For classroom celebrations, consider using nonfood celebrations like class games, speakers, or extra recess rather than unhealthy food items. Encourage parents to provide healthy food and drink options when celebrating birthdays or other classroom parties. This will not only help to create a healthy classroom, but also be fun for the students! 

 

For fundraisers, use healthy foods, nonfood items, or physical activity events. Some ideas for healthy food or nonfood fundraisers include selling produce, candles, wrapping paper, or student artwork. Some ideas for physical activity events include organizing a basketball, kickball, soccer, or tag football tournament, in addition to bicycle rides, walk-a-thons, dance-a-thons, or car washes. 

Healthy Food for Celebration Ideas

  • Fruit Pieces (strawberries, bananas, grapes, peaches, blueberries)

  • 100% Fruit Popsicles 

  • Yogurt Cups or Squeeze Yogurt

  • Apple Slices with Dip 

  • Trail Mix

Include Physical Activity

To create a healthy classroom, add movement to lessons, or add in short sessions of physical activity into break times.

  • Some ideas to include physical activity includes taking a walk around the classroom or outside, acting out scenes from books, playing interactive games, doing jumping jacks, and dancing.

 

Include physical activity content in math, science, and reading lesson plans. Discuss the importance of being physically active to encourage a healthy lifestyle. 

Healthy Drinks

Allow students to drink “healthy drinks” like water in the classroom.  Encourage students to bring water bottles and use the water fountain throughout the day. This will promote more intake of healthy drinks and lessen the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks. As an added bonus, students will be well hydrated and more focused on school work! 

Be a Healthy Role Model

Perhaps the most important factor in creating a healthy classroom is to be a healthy role model. Since children look up to their teachers, teachers have a big influence over the behaviors that a child will develop. Be a healthy role model by consuming a balanced diet, drinking “healthy drinks”, and being physically active. Consider eating lunch with students, walking with them during recess, and engaging in other physical activities during the school day.

 

Another way to be a healthy role model is to be familiar with your school’s health policies and wellness programs. To learn more about the Miami-Dade wellness policy, click here.