The entire population of one of the Clarence Valley’s oldest and smallest schools, Harwood Island Public School, have been enjoying fresh, healthy meals during term four, twice a week thanks to the school’s groundbreaking Equity and Education in a dish program.
Harwood Island Public School Administration Manager, Cindy Waters said the Equity and Education in a dish program was devised when staff identified what an important role adequate nutrition plays in student learning.
“We realised that a lot of children weren’t having breakfast, so we started off a breakfast club three days a week, helped by donations from Foodbank, and as we progressed, we decided to incorporate non-processed, wholesome foods made on site with everybody getting fed,” Cindy said.
Thanks to their Principal Rebecca Sherman, the “Equity and Education in a dish” program was born, with the school feeding all students and staff two days per week.
The program was designed to promote a passion for healthy eating habits among students, providing equity in diet so all students enjoyed healthy nutritious foods regardless of financial or educational constraints, and to incorporate sustainability principles into the student’s education to cultivate an awareness of environmental responsibility.
“Equity being inclusiveness meaning that we want everyone to gather together and eat wholesome nutritious foods as a community”.
“We hope that all will be educated into improving their nutrition and we look forward to seeing some data on behaviour and attendance”.
As the program has only been running for four weeks in term four, Cindy stated they are hoping to gather this data as the program continues to show the benefits of healthy and community eating.
The Equity and Education in a dish program runs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at Harwood Island PS and last Wednesday 32 students enjoyed pancakes with fresh blueberries and strawberries for breakfast, a fruit platter with apples, oranges, and grapes for fruit break, for recess students enjoyed popcorn, impossible pie, and a chicken and lettuce sandwich, and for lunch they were served Singapore noodles with pork stir-fry, with Tofu for vegetarians, a home-made apple slice and an icy pole made from fruit.
“Its real food made fresh every day and the majority of kids are really giving it a go and are super excited about the program,” Cindy explained.
One student stated, “I enjoy sitting as a group to eat, I didn’t like the green pesto, but I loved the chicken noodles”.
A parent commented that “she has never known her children to be so excited about carrot sticks”! Another parent stated that they were impressed by their child’s willingness to try different foods, as they have not been as willing to try this at home.
The Equity and Education in a dish program is entirely funded for term four by Harwood Island Public School.
Mrs Waters said the program has been generously supported by Matt from Bi-Rite Yamba, who donated appliances to the school to help feed the students, but for the program to continue into next year, the school is looking for financial support.
Sponsors of the Equity and Education in a dish program will receive free advertisements on menus sent out each week with the students.
If you are interested in sponsoring the program, call 6646 4213 or email email@example.com