The goal of the “Healthy Eating, Active Living Project” at The People’s Cathedral Primary School is to assist children and families in making healthy food choices by supporting nutrition policies, expanding opportunities for nutrition education and focusing on physical improvements in the canteen. In order to bridge school activities with nutrition habits in the home, families will be engaged through school sponsored Family Nights, cooking demonstrations, and nutrition related homework assignments. At the project’s conclusion, the school’s overall nutrition environment will improve substantially, such that healthy eating habits are the norm- rather than the exception. Children will be afforded the opportunity to consume enough energy and nutrients to fuel optimum learning and physical development.
Targeted Environments and Population The “Healthy Eating, Active Living” project will focus on the entire student population The People’s Cathedral Primary School along with their families. The school is located within the St. Michael district, serving 350 students ages 3-12 years in preschool to class four. The school population will primarily be reached through school based intervention.
Primary Healthy Eating Challenges to Address Achieving nutrition integrity within a school, means taking a comprehensive approach to program planning, management, operations and integration of nutrition into the total education program of the school. With this in mind, I anticipate working with the following three challenges to create and sustain a healthy eating climate at The People’s Cathedral Primary School. These challenges are: • School policies to support healthy eating habits and choices • Nutrition education as an integral part of the school’s curriculum • Equipment to serve fresh fruits and vegetables in the canteen The People’s Cathedral Primary School is particularly concerned about the nutritional health of their students, who are among the highest-risk groups for childhood obesity and diabetes. The staff of The People’s Cathedral Primary School is highly motivated by the goals and opportunity of the “Healthy Eating, Active Living” project to pursue more aggressive nutrition policies for their students.
Education is an integral component in guiding healthy food choices. As part of the nutrition education integration component of this project I will work diligently with school staff to develop and integrate nutrition education into core subjects. Through this cross-curricular approach, teachers will be able to address multiple learning requirements in a time effective manner. The third challenge of the project is the physical availability of healthful options. It is my belief that the school and community have a shared responsibility to provide all students with access to high-quality foods as an integral part of the total education program. The People’s Cathedral Primary School has demonstrated the receptivity to nutritional interventions through a morning snack program. However, while fruit and vegetable consumption is up, The People’s Cathedral Primary School is without a plan to continue incorporation of fresh fruits and vegetables into the student’s diets in a sustainable manner. Through this project proposal, the school would purchase a salad bar that would deliver fruits and vegetables on an ongoing and sustainable basis.
Proposed methods of increasing access to healthy food and healthy eating choices The overall goal of the “Healthy Eating, Active Living” is to help children make healthy food and activity choices by supporting policies, nutrition education and physical improvements at The People’s Cathedral Primary School. Improvements in all three areas will result in a school norm that supports healthy food habits and choices.
Goal 1: Develop and maintain an Effective Partnership to promote healthy eating. Goal 1’s main tactics are to form a workgroup within the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), complete assessments, develop an action plan for the school, and pursue additional financial support. This workgroup will provide oversight and technical assistance to the project. Assessments will be completed to review food consumption patterns, school nutrition policy, and need for physical improvements to the kitchen and canteen. Parents and teachers who are culinary experts with experience in improving kitchen and canteen environments will assist. Additional funding will be pursued, specifically to support a full kitchen and cafeteria renovation.
Goal 2: Increase community awareness of the health and other benefits of healthy eating The main tactics of Goal 2 are to develop a health promotion campaign, encourage healthy foods from diverse cultures, and develop a video highlighting project activity. The project will work with local culinary experts such as Chef Peter Edey and Chef John Hazzard as well as students, staff and families to develop fun, engaging, and culturally relevant health promotion materials to be posted throughout the school and to be sent home. As an example, a Healthy Eating Map that highlights inexpensive places to purchase healthy foods, will be developed and distributed to the school community. Project staff will coordinate quarterly Family Nights to promote healthy foods from diverse cultures through cooking demonstrations and celebrations. The school will introduce an ethnic food menu. The local media will be enlisted to promote events at the school. Lastly, Class 3 and 4 students will create a video of project activities and impacts to share with surrounding schools.
Goal 3: Increase access to and availability of diverse healthy eating programs The primary tactics of Goal 3 are to introduce nutrition education, promotions and programs into the school. Nutrition education will be enhanced through a variety of projects. First, the school will introduce a salad bar into the school meal program. Second, the school will work with community agencies to offer cooking demonstrations for all classroom and families. Third, this project will work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and school staff to bridge the connection between the canteen and the classroom, better integrate nutrition education into core subject areas, and provide nutrition field trips to local farms. Finally, the school will work with The Ministry of Agriculture during the summer to increase nutrition opportunities for the students they work with. The increased collaboration of school staff on promoting nutrition will allow positive nutritional messages to be reinforced in a variety of settings throughout the school. Staff will also benefit as they increase their knowledge level about healthy nutrition.
Goal 4: Enhance policy and organizational supports for healthy eating . In order to address Goal 4, I will work with a core group of staff to complete an assessment of the school’s nutrition environment and policies using Ministry of Agriculture assessment tool. The school will be asked to focus on a small number of policies. Partnering agencies will support the school in implementing current and new nutrition policies through training, technical support and incentives. The group will also work with local culinary experts to assess the existing canteen environment to see how the school can include a salad bar into their existing space and streamline how food is served so that children are standing in line less. The adoption of these policies will help create a school norm supportive of a healthy nutrition environment.
Goal 5: Improve built environments, facilities, equipment, and other supports for healthy eating Goal 5 deals with the physical changes needed at the school to support healthier eating. The school canteen is currently without a salad bar and bulletin boards for promoting good nutrition. The project would allow the school to purchase a salad bar, bulletin boards, and other equipment needed to prepare and promote fresh fruits and vegetables. The project will also allow for physical improvements needed in the school garden to supplement nutrition education activities.