Eat. Play. Learn.

Have you said good-bye to your “I will go to the gym regularly” New Year’s resolution? We have busy lives and probably spend more time juggling commitments than jogging.

Our children are busy too. In a typical school day they are juggling school, after-school activities, homework, and more.

For adults and children alike, the busier we are the less likely we are to make healthy choices and live a healthy lifestyle. It’s often easier to run through the fast food line or zip it in the microwave than prepare a healthy, fresh meal. And who has time to consistently devote 30 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week to exercise?

So, why am I writing about forgotten New Year’s resolutions, fast food, and exercise?

My guess is that you would not be surprised to hear there is a direct correlation between student wellness and readiness to learn. It’s hard to think when your body is focused on digesting cheese curls. Not only does nutrition play a key role in how our brains and bodies work, but exercise does as well. Oxygen does a body good. The more we move, the more oxygen our brains receive, and the better they work!

We take student wellness seriously at St. Mary’s. As articulated in our Wellness Policy, we are committed to providing a school environment that promotes student wellness through proper nutrition and regular physical activity.

How do we put this commitment into action?

Let’s start with nutrition.

Students learn about healthy eating and nutrition starting in our kindergarten classrooms. They learn about why we all need to eat right and are encouraged to bring healthy snacks to school.

We strive to provide well-balanced school lunch options in our full-service cafeteria. St. Mary’s participates in the national school lunch program so a healthy school lunch can be an affordable option for all. Our cafeteria is headed by Chef Roy Bates. He has been in the culinary world for more than 40 years. Chef Roy and his staff do a great job of balancing healthy options with tasty food that our students enjoy. Each day they offer our students a selection of fruits and vegetables.

After lunch, it’s time for an important part of our school day… recess!

When our students are outside, playing, and running around, they are having fun. They know that being active is a healthy choice. From soccer to basketball, tag to four square, there are always fun opportunities to get our students moving.

Students also have opportunities to be active in PE class and in their classroom with some activity breaks in the school day. Sometimes getting up and moving is also part of the learning process. I learned that they have a name for that—kinesthetic learning. Kinesthetic learning is a way of teaching through physical activity. Instead of sitting at their desks, students have the opportunity to learn while moving. 

When the school day is over, students in our after-school care program have time to play outside after homework and snack time, of course. And Fridays are a favorite because less homework means more play time!

More than 80 percent of our sixth through eighth grade students participate in school sports. This year, we also have twenty-eight second through eighth students training for a 5K in the Run Hard Running Program. For some, this will be their first 5K!

We like knowing that our students are equipped to recognize opportunities where they can make healthy choices. I also like knowing that we are never too old or too young to eat right, play, and learn.


Please click here for St. Mary on the Hill Catholic School’s Wellness Policy.

To learn more about the Run Hard Running Team program, please visit