Camperdown Kindergarten is Corangamite’s first Early Childhood Service to be awarded Victorian Government recognition for all six Healthy Early Childhood Services Achievement Program health areas.
The kindergarten commenced the Achievement Program in 2017 to build upon its health and wellbeing initiatives. Bronwyn O’Keeffe, director at Camperdown Kindergarten, believes the enriching Achievement Program journey has delivered many positive outcomes.
“Our staff’s health awareness has substantially improved, helping us to reinforce health messages with children and their families. We’ve also enjoyed the new opportunities supporting healthier lifestyles,” Ms O’Keeffe said.
The kindergarten’s health and wellbeing commitment has seen healthy improvements made to policies and practices, the culture, the kindergarten’s physical environment and the healthy activities available.
“We’ve introduced plenty of new activities centred around the program’s health areas. The joy children and their families shared while taking part – learning and having fun – has been wonderful. The Achievement Program has helped us think outside of the box when engaging children in healthy activities,” Ms O’Keeffe said.
Completing the program has helped Camperdown Kindergarten make many healthy changes. A few include:
- Improving safety with Safety Week Activities such as road safety, bike safety and using the weather to draw children’s attention to safety hazards, including slipperiness due to morning dew or rain, and sun burn risk.
- New community partnership with the local Lifeline Shop, which led to celebrating Stress Down Day, a day designed to reduce stress and promote happiness.
- Creation of ‘Fresh Air Day’ a fun-filled event focused on breathing clear air, with activities such as a smelling station containing different objects for children to smell and a variety of breathing meditation games.
- Confidential smoking cessation support service for staff.
- Nature bus incursion providing nature-based learning activities and information.
- Encouraging active transport such as walking to and from the kindergarten, including a kinder version of Walk to School.
- Reviewed and updated the ‘Nutrition, Food, Beverage, Dietary Requirements and Oral Health Policy’ as part of Smiles 4 Miles.
- New activities focused on ‘Child’s Voice’, which has been incorporated into planning. The activities aim to address the needs and interests of the children, for example children can bring in toys from home or talk about an experience they really enjoyed.
- Staff model and participate in all large and small group activities and are conscious of participating in play both indoors and in the playground.
The healthy efforts were supported by South West Healthcare’s local health promoter Alexandra Bell, who says shaping positive behaviour change is a real joy of the job.
“Camperdown Kindergarten is leading the way in terms of health and wellbeing. The kinder has embraced all six health areas and done such an amazing job, it’s inspiring to see!"
"The Achievement Program is a great way to build on the work you’re already doing in the health and wellbeing space. I’d strongly recommend the program to any service wanting to create healthy, sustainable change.” Ms Bell said.
The kindergarten remains committed to keeping health and wellbeing as a priority and will continue to draw on the Achievement Program’s health and wellbeing resources and support.