Transformation of school culture through SEL in HPE – PHE America Health Education

Research has shown that schools that span the whole child provide a foundation for school success, improved school attendance, and a decrease in student disruptive behavior. These gains are made possible by a special focus on the unique role that high-quality competence-based health education and physical education play in a school environment.

It is a very exciting time in health and physical education. After trying for decades to find our place in the educational landscape as a subject area that has been marginalized as “special” or “related art”, we are now taking our place at the table and making a real contribution to our most critical educational questions. One such question is:How do schools hug the whole child while maintaining academic accuracy and results? ” Many believe that there are times when we have to sacrifice one for the other, and that’s just wrong. A commitment to social and emotional learning goes hand in hand with the understanding that we teach children In front Content – in all grades, at all times.

(Photo by Staff Sgt.Jason Colbert)

A new era
The coronavirus pandemic has catapulted us to a moment in our history that will forever determine how we approach education. What we have clearly learned is that promoting the socio-emotional needs and mental health of school-age children will be crucial as we move into the new normal for schools in our country. Since we’re struggling with traditional conversations about late start times for high schools, less or no homework, responsive classrooms, recovery practices, additional counselors, and other academic support, it’s imperative that we stay true to what’s happening inside each child. The physical and mental health of each student will be paramount in learning. It was and will be as crucial to your school success as any other teaching activity in our schools.

New resources
After a 27-year career as a teacher, supervisor, and leader in this area, I’m excited to report on a service learning program – Health. is moving. Heads. – that addresses many of the current concerns and questions. This program brings together an entire school culture to include free K-12 lesson plans and resources that focus on friendliness, mindfulness, empowerment, and advocacy in health and physical education and beyond. It provides opportunities for school and community-wide classroom activities and initiatives that transform a student culture of stress, anxiety, and depression into a thriving environment where friendly actions are common and mental health is welcomed.

In spring 2019 SHAPE America and his national partner, Gopherpiloted the program across the country in 21 schools with different geographical and socio-economic characteristics. The results for the students were exceptional. By opening the door to students to express kindness and gratitude, and classroom teaching strategies related to mindfulness, students took responsibility for their school environment. Charlotte Danielson, author of the Framework for teaching, tells us that the highest level of excellent teaching is the type that students are empowered to lead when the teacher becomes the mediator of learning. Health. is moving. Heads. Classes promote the classroom and school-wide culture.

The lesson plans are transformative. For example, students in a first class sport class can participate in traditional parachute activity. You will surely remember this from your own experience. The students vigorously shake the parachute and the teacher adds bean bags and balls of yarn that jump into the air like “popcorn”. Presented in the lesson of health. is moving. Students are asked to imagine that the trembling parachute is their active mind. The objects are now thoughts that could be in your thoughts. The teacher throws objects into the parachute and says: “My dog ​​is sick.” “I was late for school.” “I have no homework today.” As the parachute trembles, thoughts collide and may even fall out of the parachute . The teacher asks the students to slow down the parachute and watch the thoughts go silent. This starts the mindfulness lesson.

(U.S. Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)
(U.S. Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

This lesson and all other standards-based lessons are free for teachers and include assessments, ideas for fair groupings in the classroom, and suggestions for accommodations for students with special needs. The resources are available at Any teacher or administrator can access the materials without being a professional member of the state or national health and sports organizations.

New fundraising options
The program also seeks to introduce students to the thoughtfulness of giving back not only their school but also their community. If desired, schools can put together a donation team via the flexible online platform, which also includes options for offline donations. In addition, 50% of the funds raised go to the school to support well-being throughout the school. Yes, schools receive half of everything they collect in the form of a Gopher gift card that never expires and can be used for all of Gopher’s many educational brands, including Pre-K, classroom exercise, STEM accessories, and athletics. I know of no other national health and physical education fundraising program that returns 50% of the funds raised to the school.

Schools also have the option to keep only 25% of the funds raised and donate 25% to a local charity of their choice. Many of the pilot schools gave to mental health organizations, animal shelters and local police, but it can be any certified nonprofit organization (501c3) that is important and meaningful to the school – it can even be their own PTA / PTO Act school. The aspect of giving something back to the community as a reward of its own is a concept that students experienced daily during the pandemic and that affects health. is moving. Heads. The program hopes to support and promote young people for a lifetime. The remaining funds will be used for program resource costs (25%), contributions to the state health and sports organization (15%) and to SHAPE America (10%) so that these organizations can continue to ensure high quality professional development for health and sports educators as well Lawyers for our profession at state and national level.

During all my years in public education, I have seen many trends in education come and go. I have never seen such successful lessons that have the potential to have such a lasting impact. A child’s health is a constant. It is something that we, as educators or teachers, can never ignore. Safe, healthy and committed students are the way to academic success and success in life and work. I am happy to be able to share this program with my colleagues and encourage you to share the lessons and information with your employees. More information on health. is moving. Heads. Please contact Yasmeen Taji-Farouki, SHAPE America’s senior manager for community initiatives and social impact, or visit

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