Three out-of-school time (OST) programs in Philadelphia’s city-funded network served as pilot sites for the new OST Healthy Living Guidelines this summer. The Guidelines, created through a partnership between the Health Promotion Council (HPC) and the OST Project at the Public Health Management Corporation, limit time spent watching television or playing computer games, encourage physical activity and outdoor play, and discourage unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks.
Staff members at Community Education Alliance of West Philadelphia, Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia and Wordsworth Human Services attended workshops provided by HPC as part of this initiative, and implemented the nutrition and physical activity guidelines they learned there. Each of these programs, which use the project-based learning (PBL) instructional model, also presented health and nutrition curriculum to their summer students.
At Community Education Alliance-Belmont Charter School, students participated in Sunshine Fitness, a daily physical activity routine. At Boys and Girls Club-Sullivan Elementary, students spent the summer completing a nutrition and fitness PBL project that culminated in the Health and Nutrition Fair.
The Health and Nutrition Fair, an event for students, parents and community members, featured Sullivan OST students demonstrating fitness routines and leading their parents in the “Rethink Your Drink” activity. Using information found on the nutrition labels of their favorite juices and sodas, students measured the total amount of sugar found in each of these popular drinks, and showed the results to their parents.
The OST Healthy Living Guidelines will be implemented at another six pilot sites during the 2011-2012 school year, in anticipation of system-wide implementation by 2013. Meanwhile, HPC, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and with assistance from the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) and the Healthy Out-of-School Time (HOST) Coalition, continues to refine the OST Healthy Living Guidelines and study the impact OST programs on student health.