Back-to-school season is upon us, and in recognizing the importance of keeping students healthy in the classroom, recently appointed National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) president Otha Thornton wants to excite students about returning to school and educate them on hygiene practices in a new, stimulating approach.
The PTA and National Education Association (NEA), in collaboration with the CDC, have partnered to launch a program that reinforces the practice of healthy habits in helping to keep students well and thriving: the Healthy Habits Program. In fact, they will kick off the first-ever Healthy Habits Week on Sept. 23 with a large traveling, interactive science exhibit on wheels traveling to schools across the country, including select Washington, D.C., schools.
Every year, the common cold results in 22 million lost days of school for students. That’s millions of days of lost learning, and millions of opportunities for students to fall behind. Yet, research shows that teaching good hygiene habits, such as hand washing, can help eliminate lost school days by 26 percent. Following one of the worst cold and flu seasons in more than a decade, the Healthy Habits Program aims to reduce student absenteeism.
The program focuses on three key areas of healthy habits: hand/surface hygiene, nutrition and physical activity. Teachers and parents may access downloadable materials online to help educate students/families about healthy habits, including ready-to-use, standardized lesson plans; a year-long activity calendar for parents; a classroom supply list; and tips on helping families and classrooms to stay and healthy.
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