By Jessica Purvis Frost, RiseVT Wellness Specialist

Every year schools have the opportunity to work with RiseVT to improve their wellness for staff and students. RiseVT engaged with many schools throughout Franklin and Grand Isle Counties in 2016-17, but one rose to the Gold level and received the $1,500.00 grant money that goes along with such a stellar status. Maple Leaf Montessori (MLM) is a school where wellness and health is a priority and it is incorporated into the students’ and teacher’s daily routine and learning.

Carrie Clow, the lead teacher at MLM, is a driving force that keeps health at the forefront of the school. She says, “I feel it’s important to educate preschoolers about healthy choices during their absorbent years, so they will develop lifelong healthy habits. I also want to support the important connection between good health and success in school.”

What did they do to reach this level:

  • MLM became a Breastfeeding Friendly Employer.
  • They formalized Walk to School days and made Walking Wednesdays a weekly occurrence, and informally a parent volunteered daily to walk students from their nearby homes.
  • They emphasize healthy snacks and have a strict healthy snack policy that parents sign, when it comes to what students can bring into the classroom to eat and/or share.
    • No added sugar is allowed in snacks
    • No prepacked snacks are allowed
    • Try to use reusable containers
  • Students have several opportunities for recess throughout the day and they often incorporate active field trips.
  • Parents regularly hold after school playgroups to allow kids even more opportunity for unstructured movement.
  • The school participates in community activities, such as food drives and the St. Patty’s Day parade.
  • They have a garden plot for the school, which they use to prepare snacks and donate extra produce to Martha’s Kitchen.
  • They compost.
  • They have regular “Brain Breaks” several times a day within the classroom.
  • The class completed the “Classroom Scorecard” activities and became a Gold Classroom.
  • The school established a Wellness Committee with a vision and a plan for the future.
  • Staff is provided wellness opportunities throughout the year.

Every school has an opportunity to work with RiseVT to be a GOLD school. The practices that are implemented at each school are individualized and intended to fit your school’s culture. So, what Maple Leaf Montessori decided to do may not look the same at another school.

RiseVT has Wellness Specialist working throughout Franklin and Grand Isle counties. Please reach out to info@risevt.com to see how your school or classroom can get involved. Also, feel free to look over the Scorecards at www.risevt.com to see the best practices that RiseVT uses to work with a school.