What is a Health Promoting School?

A Health Promoting School is a school that is constantly strengthening its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working. 2.

A Health Promoting School:

  • Fosters health and learning with all the measures at its disposal
  • Engages health and education officials, teachers, students, parents, health providers and community leaders in efforts to make the school a healthy place
  • Strives to provide a healthy environment, school health education, school health services along with school/community projects and outreach, health promotion programs for staff, opportunities for health and safety to be addressed, nutrition and food safety programs, opportunities for physical education and recreation, programs for counselling, social support and mental health promotion
  • Implements policies and practices that respect an individual’s wellbeing, provides multiple opportunities for success, and acknowledges good efforts and intentions as well as personal achievements
  • Strives to improve the health of school personnel, families and community members as well as students
  • Works with community leaders to help them understand how the community contributes to, or undermines, health and education. 5.

Health Promoting Schools focus on:

  • Empowering and caring for oneself and others
  • Making healthy decisions and taking control over life’s circumstances
  • Creating conditions that are conducive to health (through policies, services, physical / social
  • Building capacities for peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable ecosystem, equity, social justice and sustainable development
  • Preventing leading causes of death, disease and disability i.e. tobacco use, HIV/AIDS/STDs, sedentary lifestyle, drugs and alcohol, violence and injuries, unhealthy nutrition
  • Influencing health-related behaviours i.e. knowledge, beliefs, skills, attitudes, values and support. 5.

A Health Promoting School is not one which demonstrates its ability to perform educational activities or special projects and it is not a program that has a definitive beginning and end. It is also not one that provides ad hoc, one off lessons in an attempt to teach students the meaning of health-related topics. In the Health Promoting School, learning experiences from classroom health education lessons are reinforced by policies and practices in the school environment and parent and community sphere. For example, classroom sun protection lessons are reinforced and complemented by adequate provision of shade throughout the school and a school sun protection policy that informs parents and encourages students and staff to wear hats, sunscreen and appropriate clothing. 4.

Further information to support schools (developed as part of the Western Australian Healthy Schools Project) is available here.

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