Water Bottles for Schools - Quenching Thirst and Boosting Brainpower
IntroductionBoth primary and secondary school children should learn that staying hydrated throughout the day is crucial for maintaining focus and concentration, in turn maximising academic performance. Yet despite this being the 21st century, many schools in the UK still lack access to clean, safe drinking water. Consequently, secondary school children particularly can end up reliant on quenching their thirst buying soft drinks from local shops and vending machines at school. Hardly the right path to set our children on! This is where reusable water bottles for schools come into play. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the importance of hydration for youngsters at school, the benefits of using reusable water bottles and how to encourage students to permanently adopt and use them.
The Importance of Staying Hydrated in School
Dehydration in the school day can lead to a range of problems such as fatigue, headaches and in extreme circumstances – fainting! This can make it hard to concentrate in the classroom and learn. Poor access to clean drinking water can sometimes lead to a reliance on sugary drinks, which not only make dehydration worse but can lead to other much more serious health problems down the line like obesity and tooth decay.
Staying hydrated is vital for good brain function. Recent studies have concluded that even mild dehydration can impair cognitive performance in children affecting aspects like attention, memory, and reaction time. At key periods in the school year like GCSE exams, this could be the difference between getting an A+ and a B+.
The video below helps explain in more detail.
What can schools do to combat dehydration in children?
There are greener and more sustainable alternatives to disposable plastic bottles that schools can adopt to reduce their environmental impact and keep kids hydrated. One permanent option is to install water fountains or hydration stations that allow students to refill their own water bottles throughout the day. They’re standardised to include filters that ensure the water is clean and safe to drink.
Another option is to provide students with reusable water bottles but more often than not schools don’t have the budget to roll this out, and pupils are prone to losing them.
Benefits of Using Reusable Water Bottles in School
One of the most significant benefits of using water bottles in schools is that they provide a convenient way to stay hydrated throughout the day. Not only do they eliminate the need for sugary soft drinks and vending machines, but they also encourage students to drink more water, which can lead to better academic performance.
Reusable water bottles are significantly more sustainable and better for the environment, reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up at landfill sites, oceans, seas and rivers. They’re also significantly more cost-effective in the long run, as students can refill them throughout the day instead of repeatedly buying single use bottles.
Stainless steel water bottles like the ones we offer here at MILJÖ are incredibly durable and are very resistant to drops and clumsy mishandling by our little angels. They’re also easy to clean with the use of bottle brushes like these ones at IKEA and can keep drinks cold for up 24 hours. Glass bottles are a lot more fragile but are free from potentially harmful chemicals that some plastic bottles may contain which can pollute the waterways. Probably unwise to let our kids get hold of these though!
What to Consider When Choosing a Water Bottles for School
When choosing a water bottles for school, there are a few different things to consider - namely size, material, and design.
Size is probably the most important consideration. Students need to be able to carry their water bottles around all day. Bottles that are too big or heavy may be difficult for younger pupils to carry. 500ml water bottles are the ideal size in my opinion.
Choosing whether you opt for a plastic, stainless steel or glass reusable water bottle is another conundrum and each type of bottle has its own advantages and disadvantages. Plastic bottles are more suitable for PE and sports but are unlikely to keep your water cold throughout the day. Stainless steel water bottles are better all-rounders and are suitable for most situations, particularly on those long hot summer days. Glass bottles look great but needless to say breakages are a frequent outcome!
Design is also important. Students are more likely to use water bottles that are aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. Bottles with pop-up straws or flip-top lids are more convenient for younger children than bottles that require unscrewing a cap.
How to Encourage Students to Use Reusable Water Bottles in Schools
Encouraging pupils to use reusable water bottles in schools requires a multi-pronged approach – good education, juicy incentives, and convenient accessibility.
Education is a vital element. Many pupils might not understand the importance of staying hydrated. By educating students on the benefits of hydration, schools can encourage healthy habits that will create good, long-lasting habits that will last a lifetime.
Accessibility is just as important. Pupils need easy and convenient access to drinking water throughout the day. As we discussed above, schools can install hydration stations or water fountains and provide students with reusable water bottles that they can refill throughout the day.
Incentives are also important. Students are more likely to use water bottles if they’re rewarded for doing so. Schools can offer incentives such as extra play time or prizes for students who consistently use their water bottles throughout the day – similar to those who have very good attendance throughout the year.
US Case Studies of Successful Water Bottle Programs in Schools
In the US, many schools have successfully implemented reusable water bottle programs that have led to increased hydration and improved academic performance among their students. For example, in 2018 in the state of California, the Los Angeles Unified School District launched a pilot scheme that provided reusable water bottles to around 4,000 students. This initiative led to a 3.3% increase in GPA (average grade to you and me) among participating students. In that same group of students there was also a -55% reduction in sugary drink consumption - a massive reduction from a small change in behaviour.
In another example, in the state of Colorado, the Boulder Valley School District implemented a hydration program that included the installation of hydration stations, reusable water bottles, and education on the importance of keeping well hydrated. This initiative led to a +10% increase in water consumption among students, as well as a +6% increase in academic performance.
Common Challenges and Solutions When Implementing Water Bottle Programs in Schools
Implementing water bottle programs in schools can be both costly and challenging, but there are several solutions to common obstacles. One challenge is ensuring that students have access to clean drinking water throughout the day but the installation of water fountains and hydration points can be very expensive for schools on very tight budgets. However, there are grants and funding opportunities available to schools that want to implement healthy initiatives.
Another challenge is ensuring that students are educated on the importance of hydration. This can be partly solved by incorporating hydration education into health classes, or by providing online resources and tools that students can use to learn about hydration and the associated benefits.
Summary: The Impact of Water Bottles on Student Health and Academic Performance
To summarise, using reusable water bottles at school is a simple but very effective way to encourage children to stay hydrated and in turn improve academic performance in the classroom. If students can be provided with water bottles at school in tandem with access to clean drinking water, it encourages them to reduce or eliminate their dependence on single use plastic bottles and create a healthier environment that fosters student success. Although implementing the initiatives discussed can be challenging, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Click here to browse our range of reusable metal water bottles and start promoting hydration and academic success in your school today!