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Wellness in the classroom: healthy habits at school

Culturally, we’re more aware of wellness than ever. Mental health, physical health, emotional health - we know more and are more empathetic than we have ever been. We also know (as with all things) that good habits start young (although it’s never too late). As a result of this, the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has launched a new initiative to bring healthy habits and wellness into the classroom.

wellness in the classroom

What are they doing to bring wellness in the classroom?

They are working with educators (piloting the idea in the USA) to introduce young school kids to the importance and practice of physical and mental wellness. The hope is to encourage healthy habits in early childhood, particularly as a result of the impact research shows early health and habits to have on a person’s lifelong social, emotional, physical and mental wellbeing.

How is the Global Wellness Institute doing it?

The initiative hinges on the power of routine and habit. So it makes sense that it revolves around The Children’s Wellness Moonshot Calendar - a colourful hanging mobile to be displayed in classrooms that gives 12 monthly wellness themes for teachers and kids to explore. Each theme is designed to become a springboard for new lessons, conversations, colouring, songs and games that make wellness fun and tangible.

Why are they addressing wellness in the classroom?

The programme is part of the GWI’s Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease global call to action, which seeks to ‘eradicate preventable, chronic diseases’. The principle is that by addressing pre-school and young elementary school children, the emphasis can be on prevention rather than cure.

Supported by science

Although it may seem like common sense that early years wellbeing has a lifelong impact on health, it’s interesting to look at the growing amount of data to support and inform that understanding. Harvard University, for example, published an article that looked at lifelong health, stating:

“Early experiences are built into our bodies, creating biological “memories” that shape development, for better or for worse. Toxic stress caused by significant adversity can undermine the development of the body’s stress response systems, and affect the architecture of the developing brain, the cardiovascular system, the immune system, and metabolic regulatory controls. These physiological disruptions can persist far into adulthood and lead to lifelong impairments in both physical and mental health.”

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