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Roslyn Kindergarten takes on the 5+ A Day Challenge

26 February 2014

Roslyn Kindergarten takes on the 5+ A Day Challenge

Roslyn Kindergarten’s philosophy is founded on an action-based approach to education, encouraging children to plan, design and implement sustainable projects and become catalysts for change in their families and the wider community. Participating in the 5+ A Day Challenge is a perfect fit with these values. The entry pack resources, based around the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki, are a welcome addition to the kindergarten’s learning.

While the challenge is new to the kindergarten, encouraging healthy eating isn’t. Fruit and vegetables form a valuable part of every day life, with established gardens, fruit trees, and the welcome addition of chickens adding practical elements to their outdoor environment. The 5+ A Day Challenge, that runs throughout February, has encouraged another element with three fruit and vegetable focused events held during the month.

The children have enjoyed a friendship kebab morning tea, followed by a friendship fruit salad feast; with a friendship soup taking place this Thursday, 27 February. The friendship factor derives from the coming together to prepare and then eat the food made from kindergarten produce and ingredients brought in by families. Knowing where your food comes from and helping to harvest and prepare it for eating has been easy to implement. Tomatoes, zucchini, beans, celery and beans have all gone directly from the kindergarten gardens into the soup pot.

“The children that used to occasionally eat an apple at morning tea are now extending their taste buds to a whole variety of fruit and vegetables”, says teacher Tessa Kirner. “What’s really exciting to see is children trying new foods, and correctly identifying each”. The sharing of food plays an important role in many cultures, and the children have written invitations to encourage family members to come and enjoy their friendship events. Other fun activities have included using charts to match fruit and vegetables, giving each child a funny name – such as Crazy Carrot and Luscious Leo Lemon, and using the kindergarten produce to create new foods such as parsley bread and zucchini quiche.

With the help of Roslyn Education and Community Health (REACH) and SuperGrans not only are the children trying new foods, their families are recipients of the harvesting from both the kindergarten garden and the community garden that borders their fence, with some parents also taking cooking lessons, run next door at the Scout Hall.

The 5+ A Day Challenge is part of Roslyn Kindergarten’s long-term strategy for sustainability. Last year they moved to using the flour to make bread dough instead of play dough, producing daily fresh bread to supplement the three items of fruit each parent provides towards morning tea. These small changes have eliminated morning teas filled with foods that potentially conveyed they were healthy when in fact they contained minimal nutritional value. The challenge runs until the end of February, the next programme Roslyn Kindergarten have in their sights is the Healthy Heart Awards, an holistic approach to healthy eating, exercise and parent education.


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