Health promoting schools
The World Health Organization (WHO), through its Global School Health Initiative, promotes the concept of a Health-Promoting School. A Health-Promoting School can be characterized as a school that is constantly strengthening its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working. It does this by:
- Fostering health and learning with all the measures at its disposal;
- Engaging health and education officials, teachers, teachers' unions, students, parents, health providers and community leaders in efforts to make the school a healthy place;
- Striving to provide a healthy environment, school health education and school health services along with school/community projects and outreach, health promotion programmes for staff, nutrition and food safety programmes, opportunities for physical education and recreation, and programmes for counselling, social support and mental health promotion;
- Implementing policies and practices that respect an individual's well-being and dignity, provide multiple opportunities for success, and acknowledge good efforts and intentions as well as personal achievements;
- Strives to improve the health of school personnel, families and community members as well as students.
From country to country, even within different regions and communities of one country, schools have distinct strengths and needs. By building on those strengths and drawing on the imagination of students, parents, teachers and administrators, every school can find new ways to improve health and address health problems. This is the heart of the process of becoming a Health-Promoting School -- one mechanism for operationalising effective school health programs (FRESH).