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Magdalena Pawlowski
Jenn Flynn

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APPLE Schools is an innovative health promotion initiative that impacts the lives of 20,000 students annually in Canada.

APPLE Schools

Edmonton, Alberta
The organization works with vulnerable school communities to change students' healthy eating, physical activity, and mental health habits to improve their quality of life. The initiatives are fun and excite students to move more, eat better, and be more mindful. While school staff and parents show guidance, the project's success ultimately relies on student leaders taking charge.
Introduction

APPLE Schools makes the healthy choice the easy choice

Krish Shah, APPLE school alumni from Timberlea School in Fort McMurray, 2011-2015
“APPLE Schools integrated a way for me to always be healthy during my regular life, and I think I can keep using that for a long time.”

Krish Shah, APPLE school alumni from Timberlea School in Fort McMurray, 2011-2015

The project works with vulnerable schools to integrate healthy initiatives into the school day in a way that avoids giving already busy teachers more work.

APPLE Schools supports each community in developing a unique action plan that outlines its path toward a sustainable and healthy community, and they help to implement it.

The project is evidence based. Working with the School of Public Health, University of Alberta, we know that the project benefits all students, regardless of socioeconomic background. Students who attend APPLE schools take ownership of their own health and demonstrate several benefits:

  • 35% increase in physical activity, in and out of school 
  • 2-3 times more steps taken per day 
  • Consume 10% more fruits and vegetables per day
  • Have a 40% less chance of becoming obese than students in comparison schools
  • Show an improved quality of life, leadership abilities, productivity, and learning

Schools develop an action plan that outlines its community’s unique health goals, and a roadmap on how to get there. The plans include activities led by students and are designed to make healthy living fun and engaging. Examples include planting class gardens, physical activity programs, mindfulness activities, student leadership training, healthy snack programs, resiliency training, Indigenous games, and more. 

The approach that APPLE Schools uses for its implementation model is the comprehensive school health approach, an internationally recognized framework for supporting improvements in students' educational outcomes while addressing while addressing school health in a planned, integrated and holistic way. 


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Innovation Overview
5 - 18
Age Group
100 000
Children/Users
1
Country
2007
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
614
Views
Tips for implementation
The APPLE Schools model requires a hired school health facilitator to mobilize the community and lead initiatives for the first 3 years of implementation. It also requires creating an annual action plan, implementation funds, professional development, and engagement from the whole school community.
Connect with innovator
Magdalena Pawlowski
Jenn Flynn
Media

See this innovation in action

A parent-teacher night snack table explains what choose-most-often options are. 
Staff health is also highly encouraged at APPLE schools. This group planned a salad bar for their lunch.
A Grade 1 class takes a yoga break.
At one celebration, student leaders re-energize the crowd with some of their favourite physical activity games.
APPLE Schools encourages outdoor activities year round. This class is taking a winter walk together.
Entrance to one APPLE school.
Students take a moment to practice mindfulness.
Interactive decals line many APPLE school hallways, encouraging students to hop, skip, or jump as they move to classes.

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Achievements & Awards

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