Parents can take an active role in helping build a stronger connection between healthy habits at home and at school. In many tribal communities, schools are educating students about traditional foods and customs, planting gardens and serving local traditional foods for lunch.
- Pine Point School on the White Earth Indian Reservation has a strong farm-to-school program that serves students local foods like hominy, wild rice and walleye.
- Elementary students in the Blackfoot School District in Idaho grow their own vegetables in raised bed gardens. Classroom lessons teach kids about traditional agriculture practices.
- Tohono O’odham Community Action (TOCA) helps maintain school gardens, working with teachers, students and parents to connect families to their agricultural history and develop healthy eating habits.
To get involved with what’s happening at school:
- Ask whether your school or district has a wellness policy that requires attention to health and wellness. Encourage other parents to talk with school leaders about the importance of nutrition education.
- Learn about the National School Lunch Program and recent changes made to nutritional standards for student meals.
- If school is serving foods made from fresh, local ingredients, ask for recipes to make and serve them at home, too.
- Connect with family members and friends to form a parent group that can push for change – either more classroom instruction about nutrition or better foods being served for lunch.
- Offer your time or expertise to share stories about traditional foods with kids or hold a cooking demonstration. Invite elders to join you.
- Work with teachers and staff to help start a school garden or help plan and plant an existing garden.
- Think about walking or biking to school. It helps control weight and blood pressure, and increases school performance. Many communities are working to improve routes or create new paths to allow more students to get to school safely.