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Doing the Cha Cha Slide for physical well-being

Posted in Body & Soul, Wellbeing

Published on July 04, 2014 with No Comments

It’s not every day that you get to see a 93 year old do the Cha Cha Slide with over 350 kids. If you happened to be at Ray Underhill Public School on Tuesday morning in Mississauga you might have caught a glimpse of Mayor Hazel Mccallion, local MPP, Bob Delaney, Superintendent,Poleen Grewal and Principal Philip Dodson dancing the Cha Cha with a large fuzzy yellow mascot named Rae the Star.


As part of the annual At My Best Play Pays, two Toronto-area schools hosted half day outdoor events for their schools and were awarded $1000 each to benefit their institutions’ physical and health education programs.


At My Best exists to address the fact that Canada’s kids aren’t nearly as active as they should be. While 84 per cent of 3 to 4 year-olds in Canada meet the daily recommendation of a minimum of 180 minutes of physical activity, only 7 per cent of 5 to 11 year-olds and 4 per cent of 12 to 17 year-olds meet the daily recommendation of at least an hour.


There is a clear need for kids to get moving. At My Best is a free, comprehensive curriculum-based resource and toolkit that helps Canada’s teachers deliver holistic active living education that includes physical activity but also healthy eating and emotional well-being. At My Best is used at over 6,000 schools country-wide.


“We’re looking at lifelong engagement and lifelong choices. With At My Best, kids receive a knowledge base that they apply to everyday living,”said Carol Scaini, a teacher at Treeline Public School in Brampton. Scaini helped program founders, Physical Health and Education Canada (PHE Canada) and AstraZeneca Canada bring the program to life for over eight years by collaborating on program development and implementation.


“The part of the program that I love the most is the emotional side of it,”Scaini said. “There are no other programs out there that have a focus on learning about emotional well-being. I think it’s so vital that we look at the whole picture of what makes a healthy child.”


PHE Canada, the national voice for physical and health education, teamed up with AstraZeneca Canada to create the program to try and address the growing obesity epidemic among Canadian children.


“AstraZeneca Canada is proud to be a co-founder of the At My Best program. We really believe it’s important to support the health and well-being of children,”said Helen Seibel, Senior Manager of Corporate Responsibility at AstraZeneca Canada.


At My Best is a great resource for teachers who are already so busy with planning and lesson delivery of other elements of schooling,”said Chris Jones, Executive Director of PHE Canada. “The program is a one-stop-shop, complete with all the equipment, lesson plans, and evaluation rubrics tailored to each province’s curriculum.”


Students, parents and teachers at the two schools have all found the At My Best program to be both useful and fun. From sponge toss, parachute games, obstacle courses, volleyball and other activities, the sounds of children having fun at play filled the schoolyards.


Keshia Jackman, a teacher at Mason Road Public School, one of the four schools selected for a Signature Play Day event, agreed with the importance of the program’s lessons.


“Health and wellness is an important part of the curriculum,”she said. “When our students are active and their eating healthy food, all of the other things fall into place – this is one of the most amazing things happening right now.”


The direct health care cost of obesity in Canada is estimated to be between $4.6 and $7.1 billion each year, not to mention the cost to individuals’health and happiness. At My Best opens the door for children to avoid becoming overweight or obese and instead, thrive as we all want them to.


Students certainly hear the message. When asked the most important lesson from the Play Day was, Grade Five student Jaiden said that “being healthy means I can live longer and have a better life.”


Outlining the healthy choices she makes, seven-year-old Alyssa says At My Best taught her to eat healthy food, stay active and read.


As Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion – who is still dancing the Cha Cha at 93 tells the kids: “To live this long, you have to be healthy. All of you can live to be 100 if you want to, by having healthy habits.”




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