Friday, 22 November 2019
Barwon Valley School is the first special education school in the state to receive Victorian Government recognition for five health areas in the Achievement Program.
The Member for Geelong, Ms Christine Couzens, together with the Head of the Achievement Program, Tope Adepoyibi, will celebrate the school’s latest health and wellbeing milestone of Healthy Eating and Oral Health at the school on Friday, 22 November.
The Achievement Program, supported by the Victorian Government and delivered by Cancer Council Victoria, is a free health and wellbeing program open to Victorian schools, early childhood services and workplaces. Members create healthier learning environments by meeting a series of goals for different key health areas.
Barwon Valley School has been a health and wellbeing trailblazer having already received recognition for the health areas of Physical Activity, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Sun Protection and Safe Environments.
Ms Couzens said achieving recognition for five out of seven health areas is a remarkable effort and demonstrates true commitment to promoting good health.
“It’s pleasing to see the program make a real difference in improving health outcomes. The school’s healthy changes pave the way for other special education schools, and indeed all schools, in the program to follow suit.”
Barwon Valley’s vision is for staff and students to participate at school, home and in the community to their full potential, and to facilitate strategies and activities that foster a healthy lifestyle such as being more physically active and eating a variety of fruit and vegetables.
The school has implemented an innovative approach to health and wellbeing with the Principal Ms Anne Hume believing the key to long-term health is to shape positive health behaviours early.
“I encourage all schools to get involved in the Achievement Program. It is a profoundly rewarding and enriching experience for our whole school community, and we look forward to working towards the final two health areas.”
Healthy changes saw opportunities for students to practise healthy lifestyles, with children actively engaged in wellbeing activities including:
-growing, preparing and cooking food with shared lunch experiences
-morning dance classes and swimming, bike and other sport days
-unique learning experiences including sensory gardens
-mindfulness activities including checking-in with feelings, choosing music to play
-whole school picnics with a focus on celebrating diversity
-celebrating achievements with the Best You Can Be awards
-participating in community initiatives such as ‘Walk to School’ month or Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Barwon Valley School also worked to enhance the health of its staff and wider school community by hosting health education nights for parents, implementing new wellbeing policies, setting up a wellbeing team, providing professional training opportunities to upskill staff, offering yoga and meditation classes and sharing educational material to encourage role modelling of healthy behaviours.
Ms Adepoyibi said, “it’s wonderful to see Barwon Valley create a fun and positive environment for all children. I’ve personally been inspired by the healthy changes the school has made and by their passion for the health and wellbeing of their community.”
Congratulations to everyone involved.”
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