Since 2020, CATCH Global Foundation has engaged 16 CATCH Promise campuses across Philadelphia Public Schools to deliver our signature Whole Child Health programming, covering physical activity, nutrition, and Whole Child leadership. Through these programs, CATCH provides the resources that underserved districts and campuses need to deliver robust, impactful, and evidence-based coordinated school health programming. As a result of participation, school wellness leaders and teams gain knowledge, skills, confidence, and the ability to coordinate and lead campus-wide cultures of Whole Child health.
In Philadelphia specifically, CATCH has partnered with district leadership and Eat Right Philly to educate, support, and inspire improved school wellness so Philadelphia students and their families can live a healthy lifestyle and achieve their fullest potential. The partnership with Eat Right Philly has proven to be a great success!
The CATCH Coordination Kit and Whole Child Guided Journey have empowered teachers to focus on health and wellness during two very difficult school years. The program is written so that it’s easy for schools to deliver Whole Child Curriculum while implementing campus-wide Whole Child initiatives.
Teachers in Philadelphia used CATCH as a springboard for other ideas and activities! We love to see schools take the CATCH philosophies that they’ve learned and make them their own, because this is what drives sustainability.
Here are just a few health initiatives that have been implemented by the creative teachers in Philadelphia:
- Fitness “Bombs”: CATCH Champion teachers would randomly drop in on another teacher’s google classroom once a week and do a minute of exercise with the class.
- Eat The Rainbow Challenge: A weekly event where students were asked to wear a color of the day and bring a food of that color to class. Classes earned points by wearing the color and bringing a food. Go, Slow and Whoa foods were discussed in videos that the campus CATCH Champion made and sent to the classroom teachers.
- Heart Healthy Hydration Challenge: A month-long event where the students were asked to bring water to class both in the morning and afternoon, and they were also asked to wear blue on Wednesdays. The classes earned points for wearing blue and bringing water. The campus CATCH Champion made weekly videos stressing the importance of drinking water, which the classroom teachers played for the students.
- Fitness Rewards: The top classes that won the above challenges played various fitness games with the CATCH Champion and music teacher, such as virtual fitness tic-tac-toe and Candy Land.
- Family Nights: Schools held family fitness nights where teachers played games with the parents and students that emphasized fitness, nutrition and content subjects, like math and reading.
- Events: Schools hosted their annual Kids Heart Challenge/Dance-a-thon and Field Days in virtual form and also started walking clubs and Spring Fun Runs.
CATCH’s CATCH Promise partners commit to making a yearlong investment in CATCH’s Whole Child Guided Journey. Through this program, they receive four core leadership training sessions throughout the school year, which are interspersed with program implementation periods through which they receive personalized guidance from CATCH program experts and other peers in their cohorts.
Despite challenges brought on by COVID in 2020 and 2021, CATCH’s Philadelphia school wellness teams are successfully and enthusiastically completing the CATCH program with creativity and dedication. Patterson Elementary’s digital yearbook showcases the impact the program had on just one of these schools.