Jamaica Moves now in six schools in Westmoreland
Health, promotions and education officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Gerald Miller, said that the Jamaica Moves programme has been implemented in six pilot schools in Westmoreland.
The six institutions are Petersfield High School, Petersfield Primary and Infant School, Mt Airy Primary and Infant School, Blauwearie Primary School, Unity Primary School, and Little London Primary.
"We have been working with them significantly in terms of school health initiatives. These are the ones who will be evaluated in terms of what they should be delivering over the span of a year, as there are certain deliverables we have to get these schools to achieve," Miller said.
Some of those deliverables, Miller highlighted, are embedded in the three pillars of the Jamaica Moves programme and include promoting physical activity, appropriate health texts, and proper nutrition.
"We are now proposing to the schools that they have a fruit day or water day and include physical activity such as stretches and other exercises," Miller said.
So far, Blauwearie Primary has started their physical activity breaks and Petersfield Primary and Infant has implemented sip breaks during classes, which encourages students to drink more water.
Miller underscored that teachers and parents are being incorporated into the initiatives through sensitisation.
"We have been going to the Parent-Teacher Associations, as well as staff meetings, to give details about the initiative and why the Government is embarking on this programme. A sensitisation session is also being planned for teachers," he said, adding that the response from the parents has been encouraging.
For her part, principal of Petersfield Primary and Infant School, Susan Rattray Hammond, lauded the Jamaica Moves initiative, highlighting that her school is fully immersed in the programme.
She said so far, the school has eliminated most of the unhealthy food from their canteen and tuck shop, as well as having exercise sessions with students and teachers.
"When the children eat better, they perform better in class, the job is easier because they are more focused, they are not as hyperactive," the principal informed.
The Jamaica Moves initiative, which encourages Jamaicans to eat healthy and exercise to prevent lifestyle diseases, has 100 pilot schools.