In January, nearly 100 students and their families came out on a cold winter night to focus on health literacy.  This event, which was coordinated through the efforts of Pine Grove Elementary School (PGE) staff, Hot Spots, and FIT2Order, led to a fun-filled fitness evening for both the students and their families as everyone grabbed their fitness attire and tennis shoes to participate in yoga, martial arts, boot camp, and Zumba along with visitations wellness booths.

Pine Grove Elementary School’s innovative night centered on health literacy, gathering community partners to provide our PGE families with resources for healthy lifestyles.  Families received information for staying physically healthy from The Y in Parkville, US Martial Arts Academy, Ltd., and Merritt Athletic Club.  Dr. Zawodny, Cardiologist at Mercy Medical Center, offered blood pressure checks to children and adults.  Our Baltimore County Public Library – Parkville Branch shared how their partnership with Baltimore County Public Schools allows all PGE students to learn more about health literacy by accessing library resources.  Students and parents were treated to healthy snack options of delicious apples and bananas through a very generous donation from ShopRite of Timonium.  Families gained valuable information motivating students to stay tobacco-free and empowering smokers to quit successfully with demonstrations from Gram’s Promise Charitable Foundation.  FIT2Order taught students about striving for five fruits and vegetables a day with reminder bracelets giveaways.  At the end of the night, parents were invited to attend a workshop, How to Pack a Healthy Lunch.

Teachers on the Reading and Math Action teams connected Key Actions from PGE’s School Improvement Plan to set up learning stations for students.  Students completed real-life problem solving tasks centered on tracking steps.  Pedometers were given to students to encourage walking or running as part of students’ daily routines.  PGE’s Reading Action team developed a Jeopardy-like game board.  Students read about the five components of wellness and competed in asking questions to demonstrate their knowledge to enhance personal wellness.  As a prize for participation, students walked away with Stacey Crowl PGE Green School Club water bottles, encouraging more water consumption throughout their days and a commitment to the environment with reusable water bottles.

Pine Grove Elementary School is dedicated to continuing their efforts of health literacy throughout the remainder of the school year.  Students in The Stacey Crowl PGE Green School Club will learn about indoor edible gardening.  The club’s plan is to design, create, and monitor gardens throughout the school with a harvest celebration.  The wellness committee pledges to share healthy initiatives with students, families, and staff with fun activities scheduled: a wellness week, school-wide fruit and vegetable challenges, continued step monitoring including a staff marathon challenge, and health literacy blurbs via student-led morning announcements and PGE newsletters.