Three Far North primary schools have been recognised for their commitment to creating a “gold standard” healthy environment for students. This is how they did it.
A thriving tuckshop offering healthy food options and hands-on nutrition workshops are among the initiatives that have helped a Far North primary school reach a coveted milestone.
Mossman State School is one of three schools in the region to earn full accreditation in Life Education Queensland’s Healthy Eats program.
The program, which has also been adopted by Julatten State School and Jubilee Christian College in Atherton, uses a range of initiatives to boost fruit and vegetable consumption in primary school children.
Mossman State School principal Randal Smith said the school could not be prouder to be one of the first to meet the Healthy Eats “gold standard”.
“Mostly I feel privileged that we have been able to take our community, our students and our staff on a journey of discovery,” Mr Smith said.
“Our school improvement journey, together with the Healthy Eats program, has enabled us to partner with our Aboriginal community in a positive way and help change the eating habits of some of our vulnerable families up at Mossman Gorge, and that has been really powerful.”
To achieve accreditation, schools work towards 10 key Healthy Eats benchmarks, ranging from breakfast programs and establishing a vegetable garden to daily “brain breaks” for children and teachers, professional development for teachers and tuckshop menu audits.
Mr Smith said Mossman had made substantial changes to its tuckshop to create a healthy menu that was a hit with families and students.
“ … The tuckshop is thriving as a result. We’ve even needed to bring on a new member of staff to keep up with tuckshop demand,” he said.
The school has also benefited from a hands-on nutrition workshop delivered to Year 5 students.
Life Education Queensland CEO Michael Fawsitt said the Healthy Eats program had gone from strength to strength since launching three years ago.
*As seen published in The Cairns Post on 13 October 2021.