Mecosta Elementary among schools to receive statewide wellness program

MECOSTA — Recess and physical education equipment, as well as a cart to organize playground supplies, were recently received by a local school as part of joining a state-wide program supporting students’ health.

Mecosta Elementary joined 157 other schools in participating in the Building Healthy Communities program, an initiative focused on improving health and wellness through better nutrition and physical activities for students.

“This program means more access for our kids,” said Principal Kyle Talicska. “It gets them living a healthy lifestyle now so as they grow into adults, making healthy choices is easier.”

Talicska noted as part of participating in the Building Healthy Communities initiative, the school has partnered with the Morton Township Library’s Discovery Club, an after-school program which starts with an activity in the elementary gymnasium before leading the students to the library for various projects, experiments and more. Other components of the program at Mecosta Elementary are sharing healthy facts with the students on a daily basis and a school leadership team, comprised of third- and fourth-graders who are brainstorming ideas for making recess more engaging.

Schools were invited to apply for one of three Building Healthy Schools programs for elementary schools, middle schools or all grade levels. Administrators with Mecosta Elementary School applied for the elementary school program, which focuses on kindergarten through fifth grade.

“Every year, we are impressed by the increasing number of schools dedicated to the health and wellness of their students,” said Nick Lyon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, one of the many statewide organizations supporting the program. “We are excited about being part of a movement to build healthy eating and active living habits for life.”

Along with DHHS, the program is supported by multiple organizations including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Team Nutrition, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, the University of Michigan, Action for Healthy Kids and Wayne State University Center for Health and Community Impact.

“There are countless things we are doing in our schools for the education of the full child, not just in reading and math, but in building healthy lifestyles, too,” Talicska said.

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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