Schools, Pre Schools and Early Learning Centres

Tarrington Lutheran School Parents and Friends (P & F) group have this term began a fundraiser of a different kind, warming the tummies of students with a healthy hearty meal in the process.   The school P&F spoke at the end of term 1 about providing soup lunches for students during the winter months after a passionate parent initially shared the idea. This term, the group have begun making a batch of healthy soup available for free to students every Thursday, all students need to do is BYO soup mug/cup! To build in a fundraising component, toasties are also made available with the soups for a cost of $2. So far the committee have done a fantastic job making a number of different types of soups for children to try, including pumpkin and chicken and vegetable.                             The student response to the initiative has been great, with Thursday lunchtimes quickly becoming a weekly favourite. The P & F plan to continue the initiative into term 3 with possibly different options in term 4.    Could your school, workplace or community group follow Tarrington Lutheran School’s lead and facilitate a shared healthy meal, whist fundraising in the process? To share your story or idea, or access support, contact Ebony Jenkins at [email protected]

Balmoral grade Prep to year 12 students enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables every Friday on their school! Every week, the school spends $30 on purchasing fresh, seasonal produce from Peaches fruit market in Horsham. By purchasing a variety of fruits and vegetables and using what's in season, that $30 goes a long way, providing morning tea for all 118 students! Four students are selected each week to work with the well-being officer and school chaplain to cut up and prepare the fruit/vegetable platters for the rest of the school, building their skills in food preparation and knowledge around different produce.             School well-being officer Jo McCure says the Fresh Fruit Friday ritual is very popular and something the students look forward to throughout the week, "the kids from grade prep right up to year 12 all love it and the platters are generally empty by lunch time!". A great way to celebrate the end of the school week.  It's known that bringing students together around healthy food improves their attitude towards healthy options and can even influence food preferences. Well-done Balmoral Community College for dedicating weekly resource to make this happen.    What is your school, community group, club or workplace doing to promote healthy choices? Let us know about it! Email or call Ebony at [email protected] or 5551 8475. 

Southern Grampians kids have made getting to school a walk in the park, with more than 1100 localstudents walking, riding and scooting an impressive 9600 kilometres as part of VicHealth’s Walk to Schoolprogram.The students were among thousands of Victorian students who collectively travelled more than 1.7 millionkilometres – the equivalent of over 41,000 marathons –in last term’s program. In Southern Grampians, Penshurst Primary School took out the prize for highest participation, with animpressive 85% of students getting themselves to school every day.           Mayor Mary-Ann Brown said the walk to school initiative teaches kids that getting places actively can befun and helps them develop healthy habits.“Council is pleased to again have supported the Walk to School program and we hope to see new habits continue as school starts again this year. Congratulations to all students for their efforts in last year’s official Walk to School program, and most importantly to those schools whom have introduced new ongoing strategies to increase walking,” said Ms Brown. Following the success of this annual program, plans are afoot to make active transport a new ‘normal’ within our district. A community forum held in Hamilton in late November has spurred local working groups to investigate a number of ‘walking’ school buses, permanent safe drop off zones, and volunteer drives to assist with supervision while children are walking to school. “The response has been very encouraging and we can’t wait to start seeing more children using their own steam to get themselves to and fro school on a regular basis,” said GenR8 Change working group member, Ebony Jenkins. If you’d like more information or to get involved with one of the local working groups, please contact Ebony at [email protected] or on 5551 8475.

Hamilton North Primary School now have a permanent sign erected at their school drop off point!                                               For the past two years during VicHealth’s Walk to School month, a number of families have been dropping children off at and around this point to enable them to walk the remainder of the way to school together. This trend naturally grew and since the Walk to School month of 2017, a number of motivated students have continued walking from this point of a morning. This year, thanks to more locally implemented support from VicHealth, the school has added permanent signage to the point, encouraging families to utilise it and walk the remaining 800m to school all year around. The drop off point is an action aligning with the local GenR8 Change initiative, in making the active choice easier for children. Use of a drop off point doesn’t just allow kids more quality social time with peers, but can increase safety as a cohort walk together, and provide opportunity for those students whom live a distance from school to get a small walk in before the bell. Hamilton North highly encourage use of the drop off point at parent/carer discretion. The school is not responsible for students until they enter the school grounds in Andrews St. Parents/carers are responsible for their children walking or riding to school from any point.     Is your school interested in displaying permanent drop off point signage? Some support is available. Please contact Ebony for queries at [email protected] , or on (03) 5551 8475.

Schools in every township of the Southern Grampians region are participating in VicHealth's Walk to School Month! Fifteen schools are currently engaging with the program, using the month as a catalyst for more sustained increases in student walking.  Even our most rural and remote schools are participating by adapting the program to suit their individual school community. From encouraging students to walk a number of laps of the school prior to the bell, to having the school bus drop students off away school gates, and implementing a drop off point to encourage students to walk the remainder of the way to school together, there are heaps of strategies our schools have been trialing! St Mary's Primary School Hamilton 3300 are breaking down barriers by encouraging students to meet at a point close to school each morning and walk the remainder of the way together! And look at the turn out!                                              Meanwhile, students at Branxholme Wallacedale Community School get out and complete as many laps of the school oval as they can between being dropped at school and entering class. Branxholme students feature here with the GenR8 Change/Walk to School branded umbrellas that are allocated to schools as program prizes, making sure habits continue - rain hail or shine!                                              Three of our regional schools, Penshurst Primary, Cavendish Primary and Dunkeld Consolidated, have also been lucky enough to participate in some extra Walking activities with the Bendigo Community Bank Dunkeld Branch, one of the key sponsors of the 2018 program.                                            Walk to School month is certainly in full swing and we look forward to watching these newly formed habits grow over the remainder of the 2018 school year and beyond!       Key contact for more information or queries: Ebony Jenkins, [email protected], (03) 5551 8475

Every Wednesday is Nude Food Wednesday at Good Shepherd Junior School.   Students are encouraged to replace packaged and processed lunchbox snacks with healthier alternatives, and ditch the plastic in the process. Whilst this is encouraged every day of the week, on a Wednesday there is a weekly audit, led by the senior students to track progress. Grade 5 and 6 students start their Wednesdays by visiting every classroom and assisting the younger students to examine their lunchboxes and count as a class the total amount of processed/packaged foods to find out the total number of wrappers brought to school that day. There’s a weekly trophy awarded at assembly to the class whom each week has the lowest average number of wrappers per student.         Deputy Principal Julian Gollasch says, “...It’s all about raising awareness around both healthy eating and waste management. Some of the kids now have zero wrappers in their lunchbox every day. We’ve found some parents have purchased lunchbox containers for the purpose of our Nude Food Wednesdays, and the students are now using them daily. I can see the difference in the classroom when a child consumes less processed snack food”.                                          As well as class wrapper totals being published in the school newsletter to keep families up to date with progress, there’s also an added incentive for the individual, as each time they present a ‘nude’ lunchbox they’re given a ticket into a raffle drawn at the end of term where there’s some groovy lunchbox containers or a similar kind of prize to give away. Good Shepherd have found the weekly wrapper count to be a great reminder for both parents and students in endeavouring to build a lunchbox full of healthy, waste wise fuel! In addition to overhauling their lunchboxes, students are also making ‘wax wraps’ (re-usable alternatives to glad wrap) that they will sell within the school community initially before looking for opportunities to do so in the broader community to raise funds. Stay tuned! Great work Good Shepherd!                                                                      Has your school, club, workplace or organisation made a change or implemented a new strategy to make the healthier choice the easier one? Let us know about it! Contact Ebony at [email protected] or 03 5551 8475 to share your story or for any more information around Nude Food or GenR8 Change.  

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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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.