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revised July 16, 2009

It takes a village to raise a child

This ancient African proverb has a real ring of truth to it. And when it was first coined – and until the last few decades – the idea of a village was tied to an actual place on the map, a place where families and communities lived and worked together.

How times have changed.

The modern village moves at a record pace. Extended families are often cities apart. And we stay inside and watch television instead of sitting on our porches, talking to our neighbours.

Technology drives this new village. It helps us span larger geographies, increase access to knowledge and connect us to people we’d otherwise not meet. But it also keeps us distant from each other – after all, using a web cam or typing on a chat line isn’t like talking over coffee at your kitchen table.

Our villages might have changed but the core of them remains the same. Values, relationships and connections – between people, places, organizations and institutions that care – create a structure of mutual support for our lives.

We all benefit. But our children benefit the most. Educators have been living this proverb forever. So has Peel Public Health.

Peel Public Health’s healthy schools approach is about building and supporting the school community for the benefit of the students themselves. So whether it starts within the school and rolls out to the community or it’s the other way around, the outcomes are the same – caring, connected adults who are committed to the growth, development and nurturing of our children.

After all, good health and good learning go hand in hand.

This report features some of the many successes of the healthy schools approach in Peel schools during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years. You’ll read about a Child and Youth Worker at a Caledon high school who has spent five years growing a small one-day health fair into a large, student-directed wellness week. You’ll learn about the power of parental involvement and the ways it has helped a small Malton school beat the odds. And you’ll discover the passion and commitment of entire communities that are committed to giving kids better options and better futures.

Public Health staff members have worn different hats – facilitator, trainer, leader, team member, partner, promoter, confidante and friend – in each of the successes. And sometimes, they’ve been the glue that brings the village together.

And the village takes it from there.

PDF version (27KB, 1 page)

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Revised: July 16, 2009


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