Coosan National School became the latest school in the country to be presented with the Healthy Ireland-Health Promoting Schools flag.
The Healthy Ireland-Health Promoting Schools(HPS ) flag is presented by the HSE to schools as an acknowledgement of their work in improving the health of their school communities.
“Today is a very special day for Coosan NS as it represents the culmination of over tow years of healthy initiatives from our pupils, and our entire school community to make Coosan NS a healthier school to attend, work in and visit,” Mr. Tom Flahive, Principal in Coosan NS, remarked.
Ms. Michele Baker, Health Promotion and Improvement Officer, with the HSE Health and Wellbeing Division thanked the school for their participation saying, “Coosan NS, have been exemplary in their involvement and commitment to the Health Promoting School initiative.”
The Healthy Ireland-Health Promoting Schools programme supports schools to focus on health and wellbeing and involves all members of the school community. Students, staff, parents and guardians are consulted to identify priority health areas.
Over a period of approximately two school years schools develop an action plan to address the health areas identified. Schools are guided to address their priority area under the following evidence based categories - environment (social and physical ) curriculum, policies and partnerships.
Schools work, at their own pace, supported by the HSE Health Promotion and Improvement Department. In each school, a Healthy Ireland-Health Promoting Schools coordinator and Healthy Ireland-Health Promoting Schools team lead out on the progression of health and wellbeing and this work is supported by the school principal, board of management and wider school community.
European research has shown many benefits of this type of whole school approach to health. Chief among these benefits are increased self-esteem, safer and cleaner school environments, lowered incidences of bullying, a positive approach to health issues, increased parent involvement and better student/teacher relationships to name a few.
Coosan NS School completed specific tasks over a number of years in the areas of healthy eating, and mental health. Some of the many health initiatives chosen to take on board in order to progress as a Healthy Ireland-Health Promoting School include, improving the quality and standard of lunchboxes, raising awareness of healthy foods, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, lowering sugar intake and promoting positive wellbeing by introducing the concept of gratitude and implementing gratitude exercises.