Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Schools around the nation have been striving to create healthier lifestyles, but Brockman Elementary, a public Montessori school in Columbia, has reached that goal.
"We're going to make sure we provide healthy options here for our children,” says Dr. Eunice Williams, school principal.
The school is now one of 14 around the nation to receive gold level status with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. That’s the highest award a school can receive with the national organization, but the journey to get there wasn't easy.
"The gold award took about seven years to complete,” says Lisa Curtis, physical education teacher. “We did a whole lot of different activities."
One part of that award is meeting physical activity standards. Curtis says that was the biggest hurdle to get over.
"First of all you had to have 150 minutes of physical education,” says Curtis. “That was the hardest thing to get at first, because if we didn't have that we couldn't get gold. "
Along with two P.E. sessions that add up to 150 minutes, students also get time for yoga in the mornings and 20 minute recess sessions.
However, the school didn't stop there. In order to secure that gold status all food had to meet the Smart Snack Standard. Parents can click here to see if foods they bring in make the cut.
Yes, cafeteria food provided by the district made the cut, but food being brought into the school from parents and for staff had to do the same.
Dr. Williams says the entire school had to work together.
"We wanted to make sure that if we tell our children that it's important to eat healthy and to eat fruits and vegetables and to not partake in some things except in moderation it made us do the same thing,” says Dr. Williams. “So it made us look at what we're serving and providing teachers as treats, what we're doing at faculty meetings when we provide snacks."
An added bonus is that the school has multiple gardens, from the greenhouse to the hydroponic garden in the classroom.
While this healthy step can be fun for students, Dr. Williams says there's a greater message involved.
"Embedded in a lot of those are life lessons that we hope they carry forward. Not just from here, but for the rest of their life."
Twenty schools in South Carolina received awards, a majority of them made the bronze status.