Amazing Place Preschool is excited to be awarded the Healthy Heart Award | Whanau, Strengthening level. Our whole centre community has been involved in learning healthy ways to eat and live as part of the process of achieving this award.
The children have particularly enjoyed helping in the garden and watching our worms feed and grow. They also love to get outside and be active, so it isn’t hard to persuade them to be healthy in that area!
Why We Chose to Get Involved in the Healthy Heart Award Programme
Amazing Place had already done the first level of the Healthy Heart Award some years ago, and we felt it was time to revisit it and upgrade so that we could better support our children’s and whanau wellbeing.
What We Did to Achieve The Award
To achieve the award, we started with a “Jump Rope for Heart” week with children learning different jump-rope skills.
We have encouraged plenty of physical activity and movement, with learning stories to highlight this. For our nutrition emphasis, we are proud that we have removed less healthy food choices such as “two-minute noodles” from our lunch menu. Families have supported this well as they understand the noodles are not good for our children’s circulation or digestion.
We conscientiously provide fresh fruit and vegetables for morning and afternoon tea, and encourage similar healthy choices for children’s lunchboxes.
The professional development session “Physical Activity and Food Choices”, run by Sport BOP and the Heart Foundation was valuable in three ways.
1. It taught us about the connection between physical movement and brain development,
2. Gave us ideas for incorporating physical activity into all aspects of centre life, and
3. Helped us evaluate what goes into commercially-produced food products.
How This Helps Your Child and Your Whanau
Our tamariki are now more aware of the tasty and healthy food that comes from the garden. They participate in caring for our vegetable garden at the centre, as well as looking after the worms which provide great fertiliser.
We encourage our whanau to think about healthy food choices through providing guides for what to put into lunchboxes. We do send home anything that is not suitable, say if it is on our “not to be given” list – sugary drinks, lollies, highly-coloured corn snacks etc. We put ideas for healthy budget-conscious meals into newsletters and on notice boards around the centre.
We talk with the children a lot about “yummy, healthy” food they (and we) can enjoy. We as staff also model eating healthy snacks and lunches.