January 9, 2019
Teachers are key players in laying a foundation of health and wellness for the students they interact with every day.
There’s been a buzz about health and wellness coaching for a while now, whether in regards to individual coaching practices, physical therapists or corporate wellness coaching. But what about wellness coaching for kids? When you look at the typical American classroom, teachers are already doing far more than simply teaching reading and math. As discussed in our podcast, “Health and Wellness in the Classroom,” teachers often find themselves wearing multiple hats when it comes to helping their students succeed – and health and wellness plays a big part.
Trends of childhood obesity and mental health issues have gone up at alarming rates. These health issues inevitably trickle down to affecting attendance and performance in the classroom. Because of this, public health and educational organizations joined forces to create the “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child” model (also known as WSCC), which serves as a guide for supporting students not only academically, but through nutrition, physical and mental health, social-emotional health, and family engagement. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development says “schools are one of the most efficient systems for reaching children and youth to provide health services and programs, as approximately 95 percent of all U.S. children and youth attend school.”
This means that at the grassroots level, teachers, parents, and anyone who plays an influential role in the lives of young people can all help to lay the foundation for healthy mindsets and habits. However, teacher certification programs don’t always provide in-depth training on this aspect of teaching – they are more focused on the delivery core academic subjects. A wellness coaching certification will give teachers the opportunity to learn best coaching practices and techniques, which are applicable to both adults and children. Goal setting, handling stress, and incorporating activity into the classroom on a daily basis are all important components that have a clear connection to academic success. According to a report by Action for Healthy Kids, “There’s also evidence physical activity doesn’t have to be in a recess or P.E. setting to be effective. One review of 44 studies of various groupings of school-aged children demonstrates that when educators introduce physical activity lessons to the classroom, such as hopscotching math facts or skipping outside to form geometric shapes, students’ overall performance on standardized tests improved.”
With many leading school districts pouring time and resources into supporting “the whole child,” the timing has never been better for teachers to take the lead in helping kids succeed in the classroom and beyond. Many districts support their teachers in pursuing additional professional development opportunities, and taking the time to attain a wellness coaching certification can provide an excellent toolbox for teachers in helping their students build skills in making healthy choices in school, outside the classroom, and in the future.