Schools, Pre Schools and Early Learning Centres

With Day 1 of the 2018 school year just around the corner we hope to again see a huge number of students actively commuting to and from school!   During Walk to School month in October last year, a number of local schools created a drop off point away from school where parents would drop their children to walk the remainder of the journey in a group. A great idea for those families residing that bit too far from school, or those with saftey concerns. Whether it be utilised on a weekly or daily basis, formally or informally, many schools are continuing to use these points which is super! Drop off points don't always need formal school or parent supervision, with older children displaying supervising younger children on the walk to create a safe and sustainable walking culture. Will your child/ren walk to school in 2018? We hope to see all parents and schools making the most of these warmer months and encouraging active transport!   Thanks Branxholme Wallacedale Community School and Branxholme Kinder for sharing your photo of your students ready to walk to school as one.

Thanks to a Powerful Youth Project grant to get things started from Momentum Energy and Junior Landcare, South West TAFE VCAL students have established a thriving veggie garden! The students have helped drive the garden from the get go, being involved in the grant writing, designing, constructing and of course gardening and maintenance.                Just last week the students came together and celebrated the success of their garden thus far, making and enjoying a salad from their latest harvest to accompany a BBQ lunch. In addition to the salad, the students also put together a lemon and mint infused water as a great alternative to sugary drinks! Well done to the VCAL Students and South West TAFE on establishing a welcomed and sustainable addition to the campus for years to come! Has your organisation, school, workplace or sporting club made a change that makes the healthier choice the easier choice? Let us know about it! Email or phone Ebony at ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or 55551 8475. 

Thanks to a community grant received from Southern Grampians Shire Council, GenR8 Change has been able to work with 4 local primary schools and involve them in Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation 's Pleasurable Food Education Package. The program has been proven to deliver positive behavior change, social benefits, an increased willingness to try new foods and an evident transfer of these benefits to the home environment. Yesterday, a training day was held for schools across the region whom are beginning to action this program. School representatives learnt more about how to get a school garden started, facilitate kitchen garden classes and integrate these with existing curriculum requirements. A number of local schools are already successfully utilising a kitchen garden model. We can't wait to see the number of schools taking this approach 'grow' and look forward to sharing their journeys with you! Does your school kitchen garden? Let us know about it! Head to the Tell Us What You're Doing! page on our website, or alternatively email or call Ebony at ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or 5551 8475. 

Tony MacGillivray and the team at the Hamilton District Skills Centre recently hosted a group of students from Hamilton North Primary School who spent their day out cooking a number of delicious healthy foods! The students started the day compiling a fruit platter, accompanied by a spelling test on the cooking bench - who said spelling has to be boring! The mini-master chefs then put their concentration and maths skills to the test; reading recipes, weighing and measuring ingredients, working out temperatures and keeping a close eye on the clock. Their hard work payed off, as the students sat down at the end of the session and together enjoyed their culinary masterpieces of wholemeal pizza and healthy biscuits!  Hamilton North Primary School students now know healthy doesn't have to be hard, and we can make some of our favourites (like pizza!) healthy with just a few simple ingredient swaps.  Has you school made a healthy change to the way they facilitate cooking or home economics classes? Let us know about it! Contact Ebony at ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or on 5551 8475. 

St Josephs Primary School Coleraine is leading the way in creating resource smart, food smart kids!   Upon a visit to the school this week, we were blown away by the tremendous effort put in by students, teachers and volunteers alike to the schools kitchen garden, and community orchard.   Kitchen garden classes are just one component of the Sustainability curriculum at St Josephs Coleraine. Whilst the garden started small, it has now grown to include a greenhouse, chicken coop, community orchard, herb garden and a very impressive set of vegetable beds.  St Josephs are an excellent example of a school making the most out of their existing resources to deliver a kitchen garden program. There is no dedicated cooking area as such, however the students still harvest and prepare their seasonal produce into delicious meals approximately 4 times a term utilising a shared hall space.  Garden beds are weeded and watered by the children regularly and looked after throughout the school holidays by families on a rotating roster.  It's not hard to see just how passionate the students are about their garden! Their enthusiasm, paired with excellent guidance from their Sustainability teacher and time invested through volunteers is really what makes this program successful. So successful in fact that the recipes they've produced have made them two time winners of Wannon Waters 'Water it, Grow it, Cook it' competition!   Keep up the good work St Josephs Coleraine!  Does your school run a kitchen garden program, or something similar? If so we'd love to hear about it!  With an additional four schools within the Southern Grampians about to get started with their own Kitchen Garden programs, we want to see, hear and help facilitate as much knowledge sharing as possible to ensure all our local schools learn from one another in this space. If you have any kitchen gardening stories or tips you'd like to share please forward them through to Ebony at ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or phone 5551 8475 for a chat!

Our local secondary schools have banded together, committing to the development of the Greater Hamilton Health Challenge for students in years 7-10, with the aim of addressing overweight and obesity in the Southern Grampians region. Principals of Baimbridge College, Monivae College, Good Shepherd College, The Hamilton and Alexandra College  and the Hamilton District Skills Centre came together with others last week to launch the concept of this challenge. Each school will now be working with their student body to design the challenge itself before aiming to kick off in spring this year. Baimbridge College Principal Robert Vecchiet spoke about the importance of the students having ownership over the challenge, ‘.. we want them to be healthier and for them to come up with ideas about how they might want to go about it’. A huge congratulations to our local secondary schools for developing such a positive partnership for action! Stay tuned as we look forward to learning more details about the Greater Hamilton Health Challenge, in coming weeks!  

Thanks to a community grant received from Southern Grampians Shire Council, GenR8 Change has been able to work with 4 local primary schools and involve them in Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation 's Pleasurable Food Education Package. The program has been proven to deliver positive behavior change, social benefits, an increased willingness to try new foods and an evident transfer of these benefits to the home environment. Yesterday, a training day was held for schools across the region whom are beginning to action this program. School representatives learnt more about how to get a school garden started, facilitate kitchen garden classes and integrate these with existing curriculum requirements. A number of local schools are already successfully utilising a kitchen garden model. We can't wait to see the number of schools taking this approach 'grow' and look forward to sharing their journeys with you! Does your school kitchen garden? Let us know about it! Head to the Tell Us What You're Doing! page on our website, or alternatively email or call Ebony at ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or 5551 8475.