April 2, 2021 | New Jersey Healthy Communities Network (NJHCN)
Despite continuous setbacks brought on by the gravity of COVID-19, students at Alexander Batcho Intermediate School are now benefiting from the successful implementation of school gardens and Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH).
While schools gardens were introduced at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, the CATCH program was put on hold until January 2021. New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (NJ SNAP-Ed), which is in run in part by Zufall Health accommodated the schedule of the school and offered teacher trainings at the end of the year. Once teachers were familiar with the program and its equipment, the first CATCH class was finally held at ABIS in January.
Moving forward, Zufall Snap-Ed will lead CATCH classes every second Tuesday of the month. The students have been engaged in activities such as Gratitude List, in which as a group they answer the following questions, “Things that make me smile”, “Things I’m grateful for” and “Things I will work on”. This is a mindful activity that the kids really enjoyed and both teachers have continued to use it throughout the school day. One of the teachers involved with the program expressed how well it is going “After your session we spent 10 minutes talking about that activity and how to incorporate in our daily lives, they enjoyed it!”
Both classrooms have also participated in two physical activities “Steel Abs Challenge and “Me and My Bean Bag”. These activities have been done at home and in school since one class is hybrid at the moment. Students at home were able to get creative and used a pair of socks as a bean bag while students in school used a rolled-up piece of paper. Teachers continue to do activities throughout the school week and share the daily the activity they complete with Zufall Snap-Ed. As one of the teachers noted, “This morning we did a warmup from the program, we did the poetry round-up kids loved it!” Though only in its initial stages, the CATCH program is seeing great success at ABIS.