Comprehensive School Health
A healthy school community is one that supports the wellness of all its members (e.g., students, teachers, staff and parents) and strives to be a healthy setting for living, learning and working. Comprehensive School Health (CSH) is an effective approach for building healthy school communities. Identifying wellness champions and forming a school health team are important parts of the process for developing healthy school communities (see diagram). This resource describes the roles of wellness champions and school health teams in supporting school health initiatives.
What are Wellness Champions?
“Wellness Champions” refer to the people who take a lead role in facilitating activities related to health and wellness within the school community. They connect the school to existing resources and identify other supports that may be needed. Although wellness champions lead the way, it is important that they share the workload with other staff, volunteers and members of the school wellness team.
Anyone can take on the role of wellness champion (e.g., staff members, administrators, parents, students). It is not assumed or expected that these individuals are experts in the field of health. A passion to guide the school wellness team as they build a healthier school community is all that is required to be a successful wellness champion.
Wellness champions can take on a variety of roles, including:
- Increasing awareness and knowledge of health and wellness within their school community
- Coordinating meetings and agendas for the school wellness team
- Working with the school wellness team to ensure that an annual assessment occurs, a plan is created and activities are carried out
- Acting as key contacts for external partners such as Alberta Health Services (AHS), the Alberta Healthy School Community Wellness Fund and Ever Active Schools
- Establishing communication channels with key stakeholders (both internal and external)
- Taking part in professional development and training opportunities
- Advocating for health and wellness in their school and school jurisdiction
Alberta Health Services has some great resources on how to implement Wellness Champions and School Health Teams: