The concept of health promoting schools established by WHO is about helping schools to build and use their entire organizational capacity to improve health among the students, staff, families and community members. A health promoting school is a school constantly strengthening its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working.
DISTINGUISHED BY SIX FEATURES, A HEALTH PROMOTING SCHOOL:
1. Engages health and education officials, teachers, teacher’s representative organisations, students, parents and community leaders in efforts to promote health, with ;
· families and community groups involved in the school.
· Community services, businesses and organisations linked to the school.
· School/ community projects and outstretch services.
2. Strives to provide a safe, healthy environment, including;
· Sufficient sanitation and water.
· Freedom from abuse and violence.
· A climate of care, trust and respect.
· Social support and mental health promotion.
· Safe school grounds.
· Opportunities for physical education and recreation
3. Provides school health education, with;
· Curricula that improve student’s understanding of factors that influence health and enable them to make healthy choices and adopt healthy behaviour throughout their lives.
· Curricula that include critical health and life skills, a focus on promoting health and well-being as well as preventing important health problems, and access to information and activities appropriate to children’s intellectual and emotional abilities.
· Training and education for teachers and parents.
4. Provides access to health services, with;
· services (screening, diagnosis, monitoring growth and development, vaccination, selected medications or procedures) that may be most efficiently provided in the school setting, depending on school resources and mandates
· partnerships with local health agencies
· nutrition and food safety programmes
5. Implements health promoting policies and practices, such as;
· an overall policy supported by school administration and management as well as teaching practices that help create a healthy psychosocial environment for students and staff
· policies on equal treatment for all students
· policies on drug and alcohol use, tobacco use, first aid, and violence that help prevent or reduce physical, social, and emotional problems
· create health promotion activities, such as physical exercise, mental and spiritual health promotion
6. Strives to improve health of the community, by;
· Focusing on community health concerns affecting the children and adolescents
· Inviting parents and community participation
Source: Health Promoting Schools Handbook
Ministry of Education, Maldives