St Joseph’s National School in Milltownpass is one of the first schools in the country to participate in the HSE’s new “Health Promoting Schools” (HPS ) programme. And now the HSE is looking for more schools in the region to come on board.
The initiative has been developed by the HSE with input from the Department of Education and Skills with the aim of strengthening the schools capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working.
Fergal Fox, HSE health promotion manager said, “Health promotion in a school setting is any activity undertaken that aims to improve and protect the health of everyone in the school community. The HPS is a whole-school approach to all aspects of health and well-being.
“We are really encouraged by the reaction to this programme and see it as fundamental to us reaching young people, their parents, teachers, and mentors with valuable health and wellbeing practices which can make a positive difference. The project strives to make schools a positive experience for all who visit, learn, and work there through placing a special focus on health and well-being.”
In a HPS, health is defined in its broadest sense and refers to social, emotional, mental, spiritual, cognitive, and physical health. The school recognises that these dimensions of health are interconnected and that they influence, and are influenced by the school environment.
St Joseph’s School principal Winifred O’Dowd said, “Since starting the initiative in partnership with the HSE, St Joseph’s have formalised their commitment to being a health promoting school. This programme has enhanced the pupils’ outlook on what being healthy means. We have continued with sporting activities, healthy lunches, drinking of water, school garden, sensory room and the Green Schools campaign. We have commenced the ACE (activity, confidence, eating ) programme. Through our involvement with the HSE it is our hope that we can take health promotion to a new level in our school.”
Any school interested in becoming involved in the Health Promoting Schools initiative can do so by contacting Health Promotion Services, HSE on (057 ) 9357800.