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OU-C partnership promotes wellness education

Oct. 9, 2007
By Jack Jeffery

Ross County teachers have additional resources to promote wellness initiatives in their classrooms through a partnership between Ohio University-Chillicothe and a coalition of county agencies that are part of Ross County Partners for Healthier Youth. 

Through the RESOURCE project, OU-C nursing and education students research material and produce packets to help teachers of kindergarten through eighth grade tie wellness into the curriculum and incorporate physical activities into school programs. The initiative promotes healthier lifestyles for Ross County students and offers the OU-C students practical insights into their future professions.

"This is a winning proposition for everyone involved," said program coordinator Michelle Treber, Ross County Health District cardiovascular health coordinator. "Improving the students' wellness makes for a better educational experience each day for the students and their teachers. OU-C students have the most current information in this area and can provide needed insights and resources to classroom teachers."

Now in its second year, the program was launched in five school districts during the 2006-07 academic year and has expanded to eight this year. Participating school districts are Chillicothe, Adena, Huntington, Bishop Flaget, Paint Valley, Union-Scioto (Unioto), Zane Trace and Southeastern.

Teachers in the participating school districts were surveyed to determine what resources they need to meet their schools' wellness policies. Using results of the survey, OU-C students researched and developed packets of information -- focused on nutrition, physical activity, health and local resources -- that are placed in the schools. Additional research was provided by Ross County Partners for Healthier Youth members. 

"The resource packets are particularly valuable for teachers who have limited experience in developing a wellness curriculum," said Angela Mavis, a third-grade teacher at Huntington Elementary School. "I have found the posters and other visual material to be useful, especially the information that can be shared with parents. We have been able to incorporate the material into our wellness curriculum as we continue to create health-awareness among our students."

The initiative has benefited the OU-C students, too. Barbara Trube, OU-C associate professor of early childhood education, said the project is an opportunity for education students to gain practical experience and identify strategies they can employ in the classroom. 

The project is funded by Adena Health Foundation and Ohio University-Chillicothe.

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