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This week, Cottageville Elementary School added a community walking track sign with information about days and times the track will be open. “Our bus loop has been used as a walking/running track for a while now, we just recently were able to get a sign for it,” said CES Principal Janis Headden.
This sign was donated by a local business, Signs Plus, who also made shirts for the new Cottageville Elementary Running Club. Four laps around the track are equal to one mile. Principal Headden said that members of the community have been using the track for a while however other individuals are encouraged to take advantage during the designated hours. The sign acknowledging the walking track is just another check of the list for a wellness grant the school applies for each year through the Medical University of South Carolina’s Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness – The Lean Team. Each school in the district applies for the wellness grant each year and Principal Headden said that Cottageville has placed in the top three for the last two years. This year is their year, according to Headden, the school is “pushing health and trying to get the children more active.”
The grant has seven key areas of focus; Getting Starting (Establishing a School Wellness Committee), Nutrition, Physical Activity, Stress Management, Establishing a Wellness Culture, Employee Connections, Sustainability. Each year the school builds on those seven areas in hopes of winning the grant. The community walking track earns the school points, in addition to their water policy, Running Club, and the Two Bite Club. The Two-Bite Club is a way for the students to be introduced to new fruits and vegetables that they would not normally try.
“We ask the students to take two bites of food and then vote on whether they think it’s yummy or yucky,” said Principal Headden. There is a sign-up sheet in the cafeteria that allows the students to participate. The school is also under the fresh fruit and vegetable grant which provides a fresh fruit or vegetable as a snack every Tuesday and Thursday.
Principal Headden said to make it fun and educational, the school’s students give a daily announcement on fruit and vegetable “fun facts.”
“Our students do our announcements in the mornings. As a part of the announcements they get to tell what fruit or vegetable we are having and fun facts and nutritional values of those fruits or vegetables,” she said.
Last year the school received funding for placing in the top three for the grant and the money was used to purchase wobble seats for the students. “All of the funding we receive goes back into our school and our students,” said Headden.
The school will be hosting a Health and Wellness April 20th at 6:00 pm in the school cafeteria and everyone is invited to attend. “Children will learn about physical exercise and they will receive plants to take home and learn about their nutritional value,” Headden said.