Sandra Kelly has done everything from painting hop-scotch blocks on the school playground to organizing pedometer challenges to help get her students active and physically fit. The Seton Elementary School principal has also encouraged students to participate in community runs and fitness challenges, established a walk-to-school program, and made sure her North Sydney school sells only healthy beverages, like 100 per cent fruit juices and milk, in the vending machines. Ms. Kelly takes student health seriously, and she is not the only one. The veteran educator is one of 26 teachers and education partners being honoured during provincial Education Week for their efforts to promote healthy eating and physical activity in their schools. This year’s Education Week theme is Healthy Living: Step up to the Plate. Education Week runs from April 23-29. “The truth is that healthy children learn better, and that schools can play a major role in promoting healthy, active living,” said Education Minister Jamie Muir. “There are many educators like Sandra Kelly right across this province who are stepping up to the plate to help students enhance the quality of their lives by encouraging them make healthy choices.” The award nominees were recognized at a ceremony today, April 24, at the Nova Scotia Community College’s Akerley Campus in Dartmouth. Ms. Kelly says it is part of her job to get students excited about, and interested in, healthy eating and physical fitness. “I think it’s making a difference. We are seeing our students more engaged and certainly more on task,” she said. Over the past three years Ms. Kelly and her staff have used a number of techniques to highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The school has filled the area around the school with games, promoted activity breaks, offered prizes for kids who walk to school, and entered the school in the Fiddlers Run and Cape Breton The Lakes Active Healthy Living challenges. One of her innovative approaches has been to use pedometers so students could compete with each other to see who walked the furthest over the course of a week. The school also allows children to eat fruit and other healthy foods while in class. Developing and promoting healthy, active learners has been a key element of the province’s Learning For Life II, government’s plan for education. Over the current school year, the Department of Education and Nova Scotia Health Promotion and Protection have expanded the health curriculum and worked with boards to implement healthy eating policies. Support has also been made available to hire more qualified physical education teachers and increase the minimum time for phys-ed instruction. Education Week, celebrated in Nova Scotia since the 1930s, is supported by five key education partners: the Department of Education, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, the Nova Scotia School Boards Association, the Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations, and la Federation des parents acadiens de la Nouvelle-Ecosse. For the fourth year in a row, Education Week is being sponsored by the Teachers Plus Credit Union.
The United Nations Security Council should discuss a package of practical actions aimed at stemming the spiraling violence in the Middle East, as well as the possibility of a new stabilization force for the region, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today following meetings with the Group of 8 countries in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where he also called on the parties to avoid civilian casualties.Speaking to reporters at a press encounter with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Annan said he would continue efforts to address the situation in Lebanon with other leaders and predicted that several countries in Saint Petersburg which are also key members of the Security Council would work with the UN to get “a package of actions, not exhortations, a package that is action-oriented, that is practical, that requires the parties to release their abductees, stop the katushas going in, Israel to stop its retaliatory actions and to pursue this idea of a stabilization force.”The aim would be to “move very quickly and appeal to governments once that package is approved to make sure that we have the troops, well-trained, well-equipped troops that can go in quite quickly,” he said, adding: “That will be part of the work that I will be doing this morning and then we will follow it up in New York.”Mr. Annan said the team he dispatched to the region – led by Vijay Nambiar and including Terje Roed-Larsen and Alvaro de Soto – would report to the Security Council on its return.An international presence in Lebanon is “something that the Security Council will have to discuss,” he said in response to questions, adding that the team would report “towards the end of this week depending on the progress they make in the region.” The Council should then discuss plans “and report on practical suggestions they come with but pursue the package that the Prime Minister and I have discussed, including the stabilization force.”The sooner the Council takes a decision on the matter “the better it is,” he said. “But the parties need not wait for full implementation of that to stop the cessation of hostilities and to spare the civilians,” he added.“I have appealed to all concerned to spare civilian lives, to spare civilian infrastructure because these are things the civilian population will need for their livelihood for their daily activities and we should not inflict any more suffering on them,” he said, repeating his longstanding call that both parties “should bear that in mind and respect international humanitarian law.”The Secretary-General emphasized the need for the parties “to agree as soon as practicable to a cessation of hostilities” and noted that “to do that, they need to give diplomacy time and space for us to work.”He acknowledged that “the fighting may continue for a while” but once again appealed to the parties “to focus their targets narrowly and to bear in mind that under international humanitarian law they have an obligation to spare civilian lives, they have an obligation to spare civilian infrastructure, they have an obligation to stay away from targets like electricity and communication and things that civilians need for their livelihood.”He added that when it comes to seeking donations for relief operations, “what is important is that not that we go out and collect humanitarian money and reconstruction money – yes we will need that in time – but we have to do whatever we can to stop the destruction and the killing as much as we can.” The UN, which has a presence on the ground, is “looking at possibilities of taking dependents out of Lebanon.” That, he added, “implies that the situation is extremely dangerous and if that is the case, that is one more urgent reason for us to do whatever we can to get the parties to bring a halt to this.”