With the help of Fit to Learn®, teachers are seamlessly integrating wellness into the classroom environment and the school experience.
Through Fit to Learn, teachers develop and share the skills for teaching familiar lessons in a healthy new way. CPS teachers of grades K-5 are invited to participate in upcoming summer training sessions that spotlight ways to fit healthy habits into daily learning—integrating nutrition education and fitness into classroom lessons that meet Illinois learning standards in math, reading, science, social studies, art and music.
Lessons learned in class can shape how students approach health and wellness. Fit to Learn helps teachers make sure those lessons are healthy ones.
Fit to Learn is a professional development program to help teachers integrate nutrition and fitness into everyday subjects, while meeting state standards. The objective: make healthy habits a routine part of how kids learn.
Healthy Schools Campaign created Fit to Learn by observing classrooms.
We also received extensive input from academic leaders and Chicago Public School teachers who have an expertise in nutrition, fitness and child development. The program will soon be available to classrooms across the country.
The result is an opportunity to prepare students for increased academic achievement, better behavior and reduced absenteeism: studies show that when kids are physically active and have a healthy school environment, learning and test scores improve.
Fit to Learn equips teachers with a simple, creative approach to education and classroom management that makes wellness a priority. For example:
Make healthy eating part of the classroom conversation. Engage students in creating visual representations such as graphs of the number and types of healthy foods eaten during lunch.
Walk the walk. Eat food at school that is just as healthy as the food you’d want students to enjoy.
Stay active throughout the school day. Review any subject in a fun, active way. Have students form a circle with one of them holding a playground ball. Ask a review question. The student will answer, then toss the ball to a classmate.
Focus class celebrations and rewards on fun, not food. Set up craft stations and play music in the background. Or, have a dance party. Be creative.
Healthy Schools Campaign brings together teachers from across the city to learn from experienced practitioners and share successful strategies from their own classrooms and schools.
Teachers who participate in Fit to Learn are eligible for professional development credit and are equipped with the skills and materials to share this health-promoting approach with other teachers. The combined effect is an inspiring yet practical program designed to support teachers and engage students.
Fit to Learn includes:
With on-the-ground professional development in Chicago and forthcoming resources for educators across the country, Fit to Learn is changing the way we think about wellness in the classroom, one simple shift at a time.
“I’ve been able to use a lot of the different ideas and activities,”
says Deborah Davis, a first-grade teacher at Hitch Elementary in Chicago. “The resources are really teacher-friendly. But most importantly, the students get really excited about the activities, especially anything related to motor skills. Just getting them
moving—they love it!”
Davis notes that parents have also been excited to see how enthusiastic their children are about health-related activities like creating grocery lists and helping pick healthy food options.
“Parents tell me how their kids get really excited to get that approval to say, ‘Look, I’m doing the right thing. I’m eating healthy.’”