This year, Cesar Felix, Open School’s P.E. and Health Teacher/Advocate, is focusing on lifelong health – including mental health, nutrition, and fitness. Students in both Middle and High School have one day of mindfulness meditation class per week. They explore the factors that affect their mental health and create goals for healthy routines.
They are also taking a hands-on approach to nutrition.
Starting with a yearlong focus on clean, healthy eating, Cesar and the students have been preparing simple meals from fresh organic ingredients. Near the end of every 6-week term, they make meals like organic over night oats, roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale with a creamy avocado sauce over wild rice bowls, fajitas and much more. This is many of the students’ first time cooking and eating a whole food plant based diet. “Most of us doubted that we would like an all-vegetable meal,” said one student, “but everything was really good!”
“I liked how we learned the etiquette and safety rules you need in a real professional kitchen,” says Clayton, an Open School East senior, “like how to move around a kitchen with hot pans and how often to wash your hands.”
Each student also received their food handler’s license so they could pursue jobs in food preparation and service. Open School teachers like Cesar are giving students exposure to job options and healthy choices that will prepare them for success in their careers and in life.