What is Comprehensive School Health?
Comprehensive school health (CSH) is an internationally recognized approach that supports students’ improved health and learning outcomes through coordinated, integrated and holistic action with all members of the school community1.
This approach is based on the finding that healthy children have greater capacity for learning and that good health has a positive impact on academic achievement throughout the lifespan2.
CSH is a whole-school model that requires the support of all members of a school community. Action within a school community to support health and wellness will fall within one or more of the four components of CSH:
- Social and Physical Environment
- Teaching and Learning
- Partnerships and Services
Why Is CSH Important At The Post-Secondary Level?
Teachers have been increasingly recognized as key agents of socialization who have a significant influence on student well-being3. However, most teachers feel unprepared to address school wellness and have indicated a desire to increase their knowledge and competency in this area4.
CSH education at the post-secondary level will provide teachers with strategies that support them in addressing student health, safety and belonging, positive relationships, and other important outcomes for students.
In addition, both teachers and pre-service teachers are aware of difficulties associated with burnout and attrition5. As a whole-school framework, CSH also supports the wellbeing of teachers and other school staff to positively influence the health of the entire school community.
Consistent Messaging, Different Levels
CSH is also consistent with the Health Promoting Campuses framework of the Canadian Health Promoting Universities and Colleges Network. This framework is guided by the Okanagan Charter, which calls for campuses to become leaders in health promotion and to integrate health into all aspects and levels of univeristy and college campuses. By modelling CSH to students at the post-secondary level, universities and colleges contribute to the wellbeing of post-secondary students as well as better prepare pre-service teachers to become health champions in their future K-12 educational settings.
For more information on the Health Promoting Campuses framework and the Okanagan Charter, visit the Network’s website at https://healthpromotingcampuses.squarespace.com/okanagan-charter.
- Joint Consortium for School Health. (2019). What is a “comprehensive school health” approach? Retrieved from: http://www.jcsh-cces.ca/index.php/about/comprehensive-school-health/what-is-csh
- Bassett-Gunter, R., Yessis, J., Manske, S., & Gleddie, D. (2016). Healthy school communities in Canada. Health Education Journal, 75, 235-248. doi:10.1177/0017896915570397
- Belcastro, P. A., & Ramsaroop‐Hansen, H. (2017). Addressing the antinomy between health education and health literacy in advancing personal health and public health outcomes. Journal of School Health, 87, 968-974. doi:10.1111/josh.12570
- Russell-Mayhew, S., Ireland, A., & Klingle, K. (2016). Barriers and facilitators to promoting health in schools: Lessons learned from educational professionals. Canadian School Counselling Review, 1(1), 49-55.
- Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2017). Dimensions of teacher burnout: Relations with potential stressors at school. Social Psychology of Education, 20, 775-790. doi:10.1007/s11218-017-9391-0