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Small Changes Make a Big Impact in New Hampshire

Dr. Norman W. Crisp Elementary School is honored to be the first school in the State of New Hampshire to receive a Silver Award from the USDA’s Healthier US Schools Program. As the school nurse at Dr. Crisp, I am proud to say that we have been working on providing a healthy school environment for over nine years.

Students celebrate the 100th day of school by doing 100 exercises instead of eating a centipede cake. It’s been a big hit!

The truth is that we were not always a healthy school and we knew that we needed to make some changes. Our school formed a Wellness Team and started promoting healthy food choices and increased physical activity. It was not long before we realized that even baby steps can have a big impact.

Here are some of our favorite and most successful wellness initiatives:

  • The One Ingredient Snack Challenge! Every day for one week students were encouraged to bring in a one ingredient snack (think apples, grapes, carrots, cucumbers). Raffle tickets were given to students each day that they participated in the challenge. Prizes included jump ropes and Frisbees!
  • Send home a “Healthy Snack Suggestion List” with all students at the start of the school year. We also participate in the Fresh Fruits and Veggies Program which helps us to provide free fresh produce for snack daily.
  • Our hundred day celebration got a complete makeover! Instead of creating and serving an oversized centipede cake, we now celebrate by gathering at the 100th minute of the 100th day of school and doing 100 exercises! This is a big hit with students and staff, a fun change of pace.
  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension has been a valuable resource for Dr. Crisp Elementary. They provide a nutrition educator who teaches a series of lessons to our grade 3 students about food safety and healthy eating. Parents have also participated in cooking classes including how to prepare healthy food on a budget.
  • Before school walking programs in the spring are popular. We participate in International Walk to School Day in the fall and we had lots of fun last spring with the first annual Bike to School Day.

One thing that continues to amaze us is that small changes can have a big impact! Children thrive on positive feedback. We’ve found that when one child is complimented for making a healthy choice, it is only a matter of time before more children join in!

See other blog posts in this series: