Sopris Elementary School issues healthy eating challenge |

Sopris Elementary School issues healthy eating challenge

Last year, Sopris Elementary School students enthusiastically participated in the first annual “No Sugar in School Week.”
Provided |

The Crew theme for January at Sopris Elementary School has been well-being. For the first 25 minutes of each school day, Sopris students circle up on rugs during Crew, which is a time for students and their teachers to get together to strengthen relationships, work on character development, and talk about a particular concept.

This month, students have been engaging in lessons that promote physical, nutritional and emotional health.

“When you have kids who are physically and emotionally healthy, they learn better,” said Dave Lindenberg, SES principal. “Our goal is to have a month full of hands-on activities that really drive these messages home.”

As part of SES’s Wellbeing Month, the school will launch its second annual “No Sugar in School Week” Jan. 29 through Feb. 2. During the week, students who bring unhealthy snacks into school will be asked if they want to swap them out for a healthier snack options being provided by Glenwood Springs Safeway.

“Last year we heard stories of kids actually sneaking in candy just so they could trade it for a better snack at school.”— Dave Lindenberg, SES principal

“You might think that kids would hate this idea,” said Lindenberg. “But last year we heard stories of kids actually sneaking in candy just so they could trade it for a better snack at school. Most kids were genuinely excited about giving up their sugar and felt good about making healthier choices. It’s a very generous partnership between our school and Safeway.”

As part of this focus on well-being, Sopris students have been running, doing push-ups, dancing, or wielding karate moves before starting the school day.

“The students have been learning about movement breaks,” Lindenberg said. “We call them brain breaks: They take about a minute and have been shown to increase brain activity and even improve student focus and learning.”

SES students also learned personal calming techniques and have been practicing mindfulness exercises.

Second grade student Eva Hassel said, “I learned that when I get sad or mad I can trace my fingers and do finger breathing.” Holding up her own hands to demonstrate, she explained, “Whenever you trace up a finger you breathe in, and when you go down, you breathe out.”

Lindenberg cites an added benefit. “Because we all worked on the same mental health Crew concepts together, teachers and students created a new shared language,” he said. “Now we can have a conversation with any kid in the school and talk to them about their feelings using these shared phrases. That has probably been one of the most impactful things that we’ve seen,” Lindenberg said.

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