September 2015 - Community Learning Centers
Working to “SPARK” Wellness Opportunities
for Students and Families
Lincoln Community Learning Center (CLC) sites are making efforts to step up the focus on wellness by aligning efforts with Lincoln Public Schools wellness activities and other Lincoln health and wellness opportunities. These 25 Full Service Community Schools work to develop successful youth, thriving families and strong neighborhoods. The CLC strategy is one more way to engage kids and parents and community partners in physical activity, healthy eating and other health promoting behaviors.
During May as bike month, trail maps were offered to sites for distribution to families. In the past few months, farmer’s markets were highlighted as a way for students and families to access local, healthy fruits and vegetables,. This was also a chance to educate families about the use of EBT benefits at certain markets. Screen-free activities were promoted to students and their families.
Staff who provide before and afterschool care will be providing intentional physical activity opportunities with the use of the SPARK Curriculum. SPARK stands for Sports, Play and Active Play for Kids. SPARK is a research based national model for encouraging activity in school and after-school programs. Thanks to CDC grant funding from Partnership for A Healthy Lincoln, new curriculum kits, training opportunities and follow-up with providers will be offered to the CLC scho for 2 years. The goal is to increase the number of days and the amount of time that is spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity.
Schools that have gardens on-site provide a great opportunity to learn more about growing fruits and vegetables as a healthy source of food, as well as many other curriculum areas. They also provide an opportunity to build community at the school as kids, parents, school staff and community members work to build, plant, care for and harvest the garden. A number of CLC schools are currently offering or exploring these garden opportunities with the help of Community Crops, LPS, and many other community organizations.
Cooking / Culinary Clubs, Gardening Clubs, Dance and Sport-based club and recreational tracts provide additional chances to learn about and practice healthful behaviors. Family Nights that take place at CLC schools often involve the chance to explore healthy foods and participate in walks, dance classes, yoga and other physical activity opportunities. In addition, the School Community Coordinators at the CLC schools promote linkages to wellness events occurring in the community, such as the upcoming Streets Alive. As LPS Wellness Challenges are rolled out to students and families, CLC schools will tie programming efforts into those themes.
The CLC office gratefully acknowledges the tremendous role that these partners play in addressing the diverse needs of youth families, and neighborhoods and in making Lincoln a healthier city.