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Active Design Toolkit for Schools Celebrated at Earth School Rooftop Garden

Publication features success stories and resources to help schools increase opportunities for physical activity among students New York, NY (May 22, 2015) — This week, the Partnership for a Healthier New York City released the Active Design Toolkit for Schools with a celebration at the Earth School’s rooftop garden, “the Fifth Street Farm.” The Earth School is a featured success story in the new toolkit, which was developed by the Partnership for a Healthier NYC in collaboration with representatives from New York City’s Departments of Health & Mental Hygiene, Education and Transportation. The Partnership for a Healthier Bronx and Partnership for a Healthier Manhattan, the Institute for Family Health and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai all worked in concert on the toolkit. A strong group of community advocates, parents and students gathered to mark the launch of the new publication, which promotes creative changes, like the Earth School’s rooftop garden, to guide schools to design spaces that make physical activity and healthy foods easy, accessible choices.

Lisa  Herron, Community Outreach Coordinator for The Partnership for a Healthier NYC, joined the group on the rooftop garden to talk about the benefits of the Active Design Toolkit.  She remarked that, “What makes this toolkit special is that it’s a shining example of the power of community voice; we heard what was being said by our partners and the school community – kids  aren’t getting enough physical activity — and we listened.”

The Active Design Toolkit for Schools provides ideas, resources and tools to help school communities and advocates foster physical activity and promote well-being of students across New York City schools.  The focus areas include Active Recreation, Healthy Food and Beverage, Green Spaces and Nature, and Getting to and From School.

Among those in attendance was Charmaine Ruddock, Director of Bronx Health REACH at the Institute for Family Health. She noted, “With the crisis of overweight and obese children,  especially in the Bronx, the toolkit provides schools with the necessary information to make changes that have a real impact on how students interact with and move in their environment. Resources found in the toolkit are adaptable to a range of school settings. Active Design for Schools creates ample opportunities for children to be physically active in school settings where they spend so much of their time.”

The toolkit considers key environmental factors such as replacing water fountains, beautifying play yards, growing gardens and designing safe streets.  You can click here to download a copy of the Active Design Toolkit for Schools.