Healthy kids: Making school health policy a participatory learning process

Nanna Wurr Stjernqvist, Maria Bruselius-Jensen, Ane Høstgaard Bonde, Marianne Sabinsky

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Research has suggested various school health policy models aimed at promoting children’s health through policy processes. The models present some overall phases in the process, but also different barriers calling for more in-depth qualitative studies (1). With education as the school’s prime objective, barriers potentially prevail if models do not consider the existing structures of the school. As part of the on-going project - Healthy Kids -, this presentation introduces a school health policy model, developed as an ‘add-in’ to the school curriculum and organisational practices.

The presented model works at two levels - the classroom and the organizational level – and is based on four phases, namely: Investigation – Vision – Action – Change, viewed as an iterative process. Pupil perspectives and learning is the basis in all four phases based on a set of health education programmes. Simultaneously a staff health team is formed from existing organisational structures, integrating local knowledge and building support for school policy making based on the pupils’ visions. A pilot study - applying the model in one Danish elementary school - has been conducted as an action research process, combined with interviews and participatory observation with teachers, school nurses, and the pupils, with the purpose of exploring the applicability and value of the model. Hereafter the model will be tested at four interventions schools based on qualitative studies.

Pupils enjoyed having a voice in school matters and to deal with real life during health education. Teachers were very positive towards the integration of school health policy work into teaching the curriculum in Danish, Maths and Biology. However, the transferring from the classroom to the organizational levels was weakhindering sustainable health changes.

Findings indicate that integrating school policy processes into the teaching of curriculum might pave the way for schools to engage in health promotion. But further knowledge on how to likewise engage the staff on an organisational level is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event22nr IUHPE world Iconference on health promotion: IUHPE - Curitiba, Brazil
Duration: 22 May 201626 May 2016
Conference number: 22


Conference22nr IUHPE world Iconference on health promotion
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