Schools, Pre Schools and Early Learning Centres

Another Southern Grampians Primary School has began implementing the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation program this year, well done Coleraine Primary School!   The Coleraine crew began their kitchen garden journey in term 1 2018, and are thrilled with the level of student engagement already! Students are thoroughly enjoying learning through discovery, and the pleasurable food experience.   So far students have planted and nurtured the growth of peas, beans, zucchini, cauliflower, basil, coriander and more.                               In the kitchen some of the masterpieces created during the first 2 terms include; soup, carrot bread, poached rhubarb, zucchini slice, banana muffins and potato fritters.             In addition to cooking and gardening, each group has also been using the garden to test other areas of the curriculum, such as utilising their maths skills to decipher costings for a new garden tool wish list!   Super work Coleraine Primary School students and school community! We look forward to watching your garden and culinary skills grow even more!   Is your school utilising a kitchen gardening program? Please your share stories and learnings with us! We're 'growing' quite the kitchen garden community here in Southern Grampians! Contact Ebony at ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or 5551 8475 if you have a kitchen-gardening story to share, or are after any information around how you can get involved!

We've noticed some great healthy fundraising efforts around the Southern Grampians lately!   Most recently, Church Hill Kindergarten fundraising through selling safe food utensils for kids and North Hamilton Kindergarten's Thermomix raffle. Who needs to raise money through chocolate fundraisers?! There are waaaay more exciting ways!              Have you ever considered the following? Cooking utensils - how about something groovy to excite the kids, like an apple slinky or spiraliser? Garden goods and vegetable seedlings  Personalised calendars  Labels  Sock drives      This is only the start of hundreds of healthy fundraising ideas, check out the links below for more inspiration! Good Sport OPAL: beyond the chocolate frog Sunsational: sunscreen fundraiser Cancer Council NSW Healthy Fundraising Healthy School Fundraising Ideas – Healthy Kids Association     Has your school, club or community group ran turned to healthier fundraising alternatives? If so we'd love to hear from you! Contact Ebony at ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or phone 5551 8475 to let us know about your idea or execution of a healthy fundraiser, we'd love to share your story or provide support!  

Sally Gray, Family Day Care Educator, has always ensured she provides a healthy care environment for her children, but lately she's really stepped up her game, and encourages fellow educators to follow in her footsteps!     Sally shares with the GenR8 Change community some of the strategies she has put in place to create a healthy environment for the children in her care, as well as encourage new healthy habits to be transferred into the children's home environments.   There's a new item in monthly activity programming for the children - Healthy eating! A commitment has been made to ensuring the children have access to fresh drinking water at all times Efforts have commenced to educate parents about healthy options for lunchboxes, specifically educating about what is actually in some of the packet foods parents might be buying for their children The children ONLY have fruit or veggies on the menu for morning tea, "We only eat fruit or veggies, each morning. No exceptions. I have my own fruit bowl if the children are hungry and have ran out of food in their lunchboxes. This is working very well as I am finding that they would prefer a piece of my fruit instead of a packaged food item in their lunchbox". A collaboration with local naturopath Hayley Dawson has led to an education session for parents around healthy options and ideas for easy healthy options for a Childs lunchbox                                                                         What other strategies might you have observed from within the day care or early education setting to promote healthy choices and environments? Let us know about them! We love sharing stories. Contact Ebony on ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or (03) 5551 8475 for more information, or for any queries or comments!

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.