SILVER SPRING, Md., Sept. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a broad-based not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help reduce childhood obesity, and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, announced today the back-to-school launch of the Together Counts™ program for the 2016-2017 school year. Established in 2010, the Together Counts program is a comprehensive health and wellness initiative designed to encourage students, educators and families to live healthy lifestyles. Since the program's launch, a total of more than $1.6M has been awarded to deserving schools across the country.
Available at no cost, the program offers educators and students nationwide standards-based curriculum, as well as the chance to win cash grants and equipment for their schools. Updated in 2016 to address overall wellness, lesson plans tailored to Pre-K, K-2 and 3-5 teach goal-planning skills and strategies for developing lifelong resilience. All lesson plans, family resources and incentive programs can be found at http://www.togethercounts.com/; follow @TogetherCounts on Twitter and Facebook.
- Together Counts: Healthy Decisions, Healthy Habits Curriculum: With a focus on empowering teachers with the tools they need to help their students lead healthy and active lifestyles, the new curriculum includes lessons on overall wellness – physical, social and emotional – teaching kids to make decisions that foster healthy habits throughout their lives. These resources support the federal government's recently issued 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and are aligned to national education standards. Additionally, for Pre-K educators and families, SmartStartPreK.com provides age-appropriate content and hands-on activities to foster healthy habits in younger children. Empowering early educators with improved training is central to HWCF's commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative. An on-demand training module is available from Penn State Better Kid Care at SmartStartPrek.com.
- Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes: Administrators, teachers, parents and community members can enter this year's Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of three grand prizes for their school, including $30,000 in cash and sporting goods and a new PlayCubesTM Playground from Playworld, a leading manufacturer of imaginative playground and fitness equipment (entire prize package valued at $60,405 each). For the first time, the Sweepstakes will designate one grand prize to a U.S. military base or installation for a school or community organization serving the children of active duty military. Additionally, to support low-income schools, the Sweepstakes will award one of the grand prizes to a school that qualifies for Title I funding. Three runner-up winners will each receive a $5,000 cash prize. Sweepstakes open now through March 24, 2017. Entry for the sweepstakes can be found at TogetherCounts.com.
- Smart From The Start Awards: The Smart from the Start Awards encourage preschool and Head Start teachers to design and implement an action plan to improve health and wellness at their school. They are tasked with incorporating the free Smart from the Start lesson plans and leveraging the larger school community as part of their plan. New this year, an on-demand training module developed by Penn State Better Kid Care is available at no cost to further support use of the curriculum in schools. The grand prize winning teacher will be awarded $20,000 for his or her school, while 10 runner-up participants will each win $2,500 for their school. Smart from the Start is part of an ongoing commitment to improve early childhood education made to the Clinton Global Initiative. Entries open now through March 2, 2017. All lessons and access to the training module can be found at http://www.togethercounts.com/sfts/awards.
Data from an initial impact study revealed students exposed to the Together Counts curriculum added one or more physical activities per week to their routine while also making healthier nutrition choices. Additionally, more than 90 percent of educators who implemented the curriculum in their classroom thought it made an impact and their students had a better understanding of healthy habits.
"Lesson plans and student resources available through the Together Counts program have engaged my students in easy-to-understand health and wellness concepts that have empowered them to live healthier lives both in and outside of the classroom," said Francie Snyder, teacher at Prine Elementary School in Manatee County, Fl. "I look forward to introducing my new students this year to the program, and entering my school in the Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes!"
"Empowering American school students and their families to make healthy decisions that become healthy habits for life is critical to reducing obesity," said Becky Johnson, HWCF executive director. "The Together Counts curriculum and the health and wellness grants show that educators, families and communities are motivated to live healthier lives, and we are proud to provide them with the tools, information and resources they need to inspire a new generation to live healthier, more active lives."
"Discovery Education is committed to providing schools nationwide with free digital resources across a variety of curricular areas that empower educators, students and families with hands-on tools and engaging learning activities," said Lori McFarling, senior vice president, Discovery Education. "We are proud to continue our partnership with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation to deliver a range of opportunities that teach the importance of health and wellness, and help establish healthy habits for students early on."
For additional information on the Together Counts program visit www.togethercounts.com.
About Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) is a broad-based not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help reduce obesity, especially childhood obesity, by encouraging positive and permanent lifestyle changes among school-aged children and their families. The Foundation develops and implements innovative and collaborative educational, marketplace and community solutions with its coalition of 300 corporate and not-for-profit partners. Through its free, award-winning Together Counts™ wellness curriculum, the Foundation has reached more than 36.1 million students. As the first commitment to First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative and verified by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, HWCF's food and beverage company members gave consumers more lower calorie options by removing 6.4 trillion calories from their products– surpassing their pledge by more than 400 percent three years ahead of schedule. In June 2016 the program expanded internationally with the launch of the Latin American Commitment to a Healthy Future at the World Economic Forum in Medellín, Colombia.
About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education's services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.
Playworld believes The World Needs Play®. Play is vital to everyone's health and well-being. It's something you are never too young or too old to enjoy. We develop playground environments where creativity is king, belly laughs are welcome and children make the rules. Playworld equipment is designed to unleash the transformational power of play so bodies grow stronger, children play safely and imagination can take flight. For 45 years, Playworld has created innovative, inclusive and meaningful outdoor play experiences for all ages and abilities. Come play with us at www.Playworld.com.
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SOURCE Discovery Education