Healthy Schools BC Stories

Community: Nanaimo
School Name: AbOut Program
School District: SD068
Health Authority: Island Health Authority
School Level: Elementary
Category: Active Living/Physical Activity (general)
Inquiry: Yes
CSH Approach: No
Receieved HSN Grant: No
Date Submitted: 30/09/2013
Brett Hancock
Education Sector

Aboriginal Outreach (AbOut)

Through the support of HSN the Aboriginal Outreach (AbOut) Program has managed to offer more student success, especially around healthy living and learning. The AbOut is now in its fifth academic year of operation. It is an innovative approach to service delivery for vulnerable Aboriginal students aged 12-19 in School District 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith). The programs personalized learning approach allows learners, whom otherwise leave the system, the chance to stabilize in a supportive atmosphere that allows them to have success and create self-esteem and confidence. AbOut focuses on relationships with each student and their family, relevant and meaningful learning and restorative practices that help each student create a sense of self.

Our Healthy Schools Team consists of two teachers (Brett Hancock and Leila Lattimer), one Child Youth and Family Support Worker (Kim Chadwick) and 38 students. The team has grown together as a group and continue to look for fun and innovative ways to incorporate healthy living into their lives both inside and out of the classroom. We are now working with some elementary and high schools around the community to help promote healthy living.

One of the goals of our program was to help our students start to make some healthy choices in their life. When reflecting on the progress that staff and students have made since September 2012, we believe that our goal around exposing students to more regular healthy living was achieved. What had originally started as exposing students to physical activity more regularly, turned into having them start to lead a far more active and healthy lifestyle.

With our students becoming more active, AbOut staff have noticed a huge improvement in student attendance and attitude. The students that have committed to exercising daily, have demonstrated positive work habits in the classroom. Students that are attending regularly have been given the opportunity to explore some physical activities of their choice.

The AbOut Program has decorated their classroom and moved into the community to allow the students to be exposed to healthy living in a variety of different settings. Students can often be found doing light exercises (self-regulating) while they complete their school work. Many of the afternoon’s see the students move outside of the classroom to participate in educational hikes and various cultural activities. Some students have demonstrated a keen interest in regular weight training and water exercises at Nanaimo Aquatic Center.

The HSN grant has allowed staff and students to move their learning outside of the classroom with a strong focus on physical activity and caring for their body. The smiles that students provide the staff and community with on a daily basis help make all the hard work and planning worthwhile. We as a program would like to thank you for all your support and the excellent work that you do for schools across the province of British Columbia.