Loud and excited students broke out their dance moves and their crayons for the Healthy Active Schools Symposia at CrossRoads Church Wednesday.
Students from Red Deer Public School District, Red Deer Catholic Regional School District and surrounding areas took part in the full day, which focused on healthy eating, active learning and mental well-being.
Katelynn Theal, comprehensive school health co-ordinator at Ever Active Schools and event organizer, said HASS and other events promote personal growth and foster learning.
“Creating a healthy school community isn’t just the job of the school district and the teachers, students play a role, too,” she said.
Students attended learning sessions focusing on all three areas including hip hop dancing, art and play, and adventure playgrounds.
Theal said the hope is to make students feel energized when they head back to class.
“I have heard things like ‘we want to start a healthy snack shack so let’s go to the healthy eating session’ or high school students wanting to lead (elementary students) at active breaks at lunch so they attend sessions that they want,” she said.
There are about 13 similar events taking place across Alberta, but the Red Deer event, with 46 school teams, is the biggest one with about 450 people registered including students and adults.
Each school team consisted about six to eight students with one or two adults — be it teachers or school health champions.
Presenters like Red Deer College, Alberta Health Services and other agencies attended the event.
The theme at this year’s event focused on art.
“We have been talking about healthy eating at HASS for years, but art can support both learning and health so that became the theme,” she said.
The event is in its 11th year.