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Barrytown School commits to water and milk only

Barrytown School has joined a West Coast commitment to healthy hydration by taking part in a “water and milk only” schools programme.

Principal Rachael Whyte volunteered Barrytown School for the pilot programme.

“Given we are already a Fonterra Milk school, it seemed a natural progression. On the whole our students make pretty healthy choices around their eating, so to be a pilot school wouldn't come with too many objections.

“Being pretty isolated, we don't have a canteen at school or shops nearby, so that limits the availability and immediate access to unhealthy options.”

Since the introduction on the programme, noticeable results can already been seen at school, and parents have commented that their kids are changing their habits at home, too.

“There are less trips to the toilet and students are choosing to drink water at home now,” Rachael says.

“This is a great programme that engages the students and makes them think about what goes into their bodies. It would be fantastic to see this being used in other schools.”

Community & Public Health West Coast Health Promoter Carina Schill and Health Promoting Schools Facilitator Tessa Hunter worked with the school on a pilot programme to get the students drinking only water and milk in Term 2.

The programme aims to promote long-term change rather than a one-off health drive.

The full primary school has 26 students and two classes – one senior and one junior.

“The idea was to start with a small health-promoting school,” Carina says.

“The principal is a big supporter. We came in and all the kids already had drink bottles.”

Rather than simply asking a school to implement a policy, the programme includes assisting the school with education that engages students to make good decisions outside of school as well.

Education activities include using coloured water and flowers to show how living things absorb water, and learning about different functions water has in the human body.

“We use strengths-based approach,” Carina says.

The pilot programme will be reviewed and evaluated at the end of Term 2 by Community & Public Health.


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