Red Bank, N.J. – RBCS has begun a new initiative in partnership with the YMCA to help improve the health and well-being of all its students. The program known as CATCH (A Coordinated Approach to Child Health), has been instituted at schools across the country with positive results that last for years after the program’s completion. This is part of the YMCA’s Healthy U Initiative. The Healthy U initiative and Catch program are designed to combat childhood obesity by instituting behavioral changes in children using a multi-pronged approach that includes nutrition, education, increased physical activity and a family focus.
Rose Mary Mintz, Vice President of Child Advancement at The Community YMCA, said Red Bank Charter is the first school in the area to incorporate Healthy U into the school curriculum and one of only 24 in New Jersey. “We are pleased to give Red Bank children and families the support they need for making healthy choices and lifestyle changes,” Mintz said
As we all know, good health is supported by a nutritious diet, daily exercise, hygiene, and rest and relaxation. But with a childhood obesity epidemic running rampant throughout the country, and many students spending more time in school and consuming up to half their daily calories there, it is incumbent upon schools to partner with families in the area of child health.
RBCS kicked off the CATCH program on November 11, 2013. Students received blue “Healthy U” T-shirts from the YMCA. In health class they will be educated on the differences between “Go, Slow, and Woah” foods. In the cafeteria the children will receive rewards for healthy food choices in the form of “Catch” cards. In the classroom they will also receive “Catch” cards for healthy snack choices, and teachers will be incorporating “Brain Buster” physical activities as well as relaxation exercises between lessons. “Catch of the Day” facts will be posted throughout the school, reminding students about the benefits of things like brushing their teeth, eating vegetables and fruit, getting enough sleep, and wearing seal belts, helmets and sunscreen.
In addition, the school nurse will be coordinating a health fair to include activities like an obstacle course, as well as a drum circle organized by our music teacher. Parents have been asked to get on board by practicing healthy choices at home, sending children to school with nutritious food, and thinking about creative alternatives to classroom birthday “Woah” foods.
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Red Bank Charter School Principal Meredith Pennotti said, “Participation in this program provides additional, and complementary, health education to the school, while promoting a culture of wellness that can improve the academic performance and increase student health.”
If you have any questions about this program, contact Mr. John Chestman at (732) 450-9799.