Hungry to keep kicking health goals

Thursday 28 November, 2019


Barwon Valley School, a special education school in Belmont, is the first special education school in the state to achieve Victorian Government recognition for all seven health areas in the Achievement Program.


The school Principal Ms Anne Hume believes the key to long-term health is to shape positive health behaviours early, saying the program is a “profoundly rewarding and enriching experience for the whole school community.”


Focusing on the most recent Healthy Eating and Oral Health achievement, initiatives of note included:


  • students participating in growing, preparing, cooking and eating healthy foods from their vegetable garden
  • school picnic events where everyone celebrated culturally diverse healthy foods
  • in-class sensory activities where students used touch, smell and taste to build positive relationships with food
  • a healthy eating policy, revised lunch menus and removal of vending machines
  • staff taking part in professional development training, which encouraged role-modelling of healthy eating behaviours
  • education nights for parents and consultation on health initiatives
  • educational material including brochures, newsletters and posters were disseminated. 


The healthy changes saw opportunities for the whole school community to practise healthy lifestyles by engaging students, staff, and families in healthy eating activities.


The new healthy changes were implemented with support from City of Geelong Health Promoter, Monika Stevanja, who worked with the whole school to create a supportive and healthy environment.


“It was great to see everyone from the teachers, staff, students and families all come together to support healthy eating changes… working with such an enthusiastic health and wellbeing team was a highlight for me.”


The wonderful health initiatives implemented by Barwon Valley School pave the way for other schools to follow suit. Head of the Achievement Program, Tope Adepoyibi, is delighted to see a school really champion the program.


“I’m personally inspired by the healthy changes the school has made and by its passion for the health and wellbeing of their community," Ms Adepoyibi said.

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