If you’re tired of having your child bring lollies home from school and you’re looking for ways to improve their school food environment, consider approaching your school board of trustees asking them to implement a healthy food policy.
One school that adopted a healthy food and water policy recently was St Francis de Sales School in Island Bay. With both the new principal and the board of trustees very supportive of the idea, it felt like the right time to implement a policy. The Healthy Futures healthy food policy template was used as a starting point and some changes were made to fit in with the school’s own ethos and environment.
It is one thing to put in place a healthy food policy, but quite another to implement it. However St Francis de Sales School found that with the staff on board, implementing the policy was pretty straightforward.
The staff used the school newsletter to encourage pupils to bring water only to school and the new policy was used as a way to stop the practice of giving out lollies on children’s birthdays. The principal, Tracy Gundeson, reported no negative feedback after the lollies-on-birthdays practice was stopped. In fact, many parents were supportive as it removed the worry about allergies and halted the dramas with jealous siblings! The newsletter also offered suggestions for alternative gifts for classmates - for example pencils and stickers - for parents wishing to continue with the birthday tradition.
The junior school teachers reported changes in children’s behaviour as a result of the removal of the lolly practice and have since asked parents not to send fruit strings and similar jelly type snacks to school because, at 60% sugar, these foods do not set children up to learn well.
The school believes that good health is integral to learning and is excited about what ideas
could be incorporated in the future to teach children about good health.