Healthy mind + body+ soul = the whole healthy child
by Claire Downey
Sun contributing writer
Most people think of education as the learning that takes place in various academic subject areas. While academic excellence is a proud tradition at the Bishop’s Academy at Most Holy Rosary, the staff knows that a child’s healthy growth involves nurturing in mind, body and soul. Physically healthy children are able to focus on learning. A challenge for schools today is to teach children how to be physically healthy by making wise choices in regard to diet and regular physical exercise. The fact that MHR is a “Green School” and uses environmentally and kid-friendly cleaning products and equipment provides a physically healthy environment in the school.
The MHR experience provides solid building blocks on which students can build as they become life-long learners.
At the recent Project Fair, students took on the challenge of learning about food and nutrition. Students explored and displayed projects focusing on nutrition and fitness such as the effects of smoking on the lungs, how fat-free foods taste compared to the original snack recipes, burning calories with exercise and proper cooking temperatures to keep foods safe.
A Wellness Committee was recently established at the Bishop’s Academy at Most Holy Rosary. The committee began by developing a Wellness Policy that promotes and protects student health by encouraging healthy eating and physical activity with the ultimate goal of fostering healthy lifelong habits. The focus is to enhance awareness of families, students and staff and to provide wellness opportunities. This positively reflects the school’s commitment to the health and well-being of its students.
MHR supports Wellness Awareness at school and at home. Weekly informational flyers go home with students that cover topics that include: healthy choices in restaurants, understanding food labels, appropriate caloric intake and family fitness. In the classrooms, MHR teachers have incorporated the “Take 10” Program where students perform simple exercises several times each day in order to increase their circulation and boost their brain power.
In language classes, students taking Spanish and French are getting exercise and practicing their listening comprehension skills using “Total Physical Response” or TPR. After hearing a series of commands, the students respond physically, imitating “Senore” (or “Madame”) Straub with a variety of body movements. The students are capable of acting out the appropriate responses on their own after just a few practice sessions. Examples of the commands are “dance, jump, smile, turn around.”
TPR is a great stretching activity, excellent for both the mind and the body.
At 2:30 p.m. on a cold March afternoon, the instructional day had ended at the BA@MHR but 58 energetic kindergarten through third grade students, seven dedicated volunteer coaches, 12 basketballs and lots of excitement were heating up the gym. As the noise level began to rise, the whistle blew and a session of the Primary League at Rosary had begun.
When the athletic directors envisioned strengthening the Parochial League at MHR, one of the main components of their plan was the creation of the Primary League, a school-run, organized league to give students in grades kindergarten through third grade exposure to organized basketball. The focus of the Primary League was on “sportsmanship, teamwork and skill-building” with students learning a variety of skills like drills, games, and team-building exercises. The Primary League was a huge success with everyone looking forward to next year including Syracuse University students from the Knights of Columbus chapter, who are committed to volunteering their time and talents at MHR next year.
At the Bishop’s Academy at Most Holy Rosary students receive the gift of spiritual growth development. The Catholic identity of MHR continues to define the culture of the school. Anyone attending a school Mass will notice movement incorporated into music selections. In order to fully celebrate the commitment to health and nutrition for the mind, body and soul, the Wellness Committee is sponsoring a Wellness Day on May 7. As always, will begin the day with prayer. The students will experience a number of health-focused activities with guest speakers from the community, including yoga instruction and nutrition instruction from dieticians from the Food Bank of CNY. MHR students will reflect the school’s mission by taking this opportunity to reach out in service to others and will collect food and cash donations for the Food Bank. Wellness Day will conclude with a Family-Fun Walk so that family members can join in the fun. Health, nutrition and fitness are all part of the learning at Rosary.