A Wellness Integration Program empowers classroom teachers so that they are motivated, skilled and comfortable integrating physical activity and nutrition information into the core curriculum. The program also provides resources and training for teachers to integrate other wellness information throughout the school day. The program is based on a train-the-trainer model and is implemented by Wellness Integration Specialists who serves as the teacher trainers.
Wellness Integration is a model developed by the Student Health Initiative Program (SHIP), which is a partnership between the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation and the Williamsburg James City County Public Schools. Wellness Integration Specialists create and compile lessons that promote healthy eating, physical activity and overall well being. They model these lessons for teachers and provide them with encouragement and resources so that they can implement the classroom lessons on their own. The specialists serve as advocates and cheerleaders for healthy lifestyle choices and they are catalysts for creating a healthier school environment.
Wellness Integration has been well-received by administrators and teachers – 75% of teachers at schools with the program report using the strategies the specialists have taught. Also, data comparing Wellness Integration schools with non- Wellness Integration schools indicate a statistically significant difference in the amount of time that students are active during the school day.
For more information about current Wellness Integration Program examples, contact Greater Richmond Fit4Kids or SHIP in Williamsburg/James City County. In the Richmond region, Fit4Kids has a Wellness Integration Specialist at Bellwood Elementary School and Elizabeth Scott Elementary School in Chesterfield County and will provide one-hour training sessions to any metro Richmond elementary school by request. SHIP staff has already developed 600 lesson plans that are aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) and are publicly available to other professionals implementing Wellness Integration.