St Columbas Kindergarten in Sale has been recognised as promoting health and wellbeing for staff, children and families under the Victorian Government’s Achievement Program Framework.

As one of 10 services across the Wellington Shire participating in the Achievement Program, St. Columbas Kindergarten is the first to complete the benchmarks for all seven health priority areas within the initiative.

Supported by Central Gippsland Health (CGH), the Achievement Program within East Gippsland is encouraging early childhood services to create healthy places for working, learning and living. St Columbas’ Achievement Program team have worked hard over the past two years to create healthy environments which address the program’s health priority areas: Safe Environments, Tobacco Control, Physical Activity, Healthy Eating and Oral Health, Sun Protection, and Mental Health and Wellbeing.

CGH Health Promotion Officer, Gemma Paton, said improving health behaviour in these seven areas could help prevent chronic disease, support better learning outcomes and set children and adults up with healthy habits for life.

“The program’s whole of school focus has helped St Columbas strengthen existing strategies and create new strategies that address the health and wellbeing of staff, children and their families,” Ms Paton explained.

“These have included installing a bike rack to encourage active travel to kinder, installing a sunscreen station, engaging the children in Yoga, providing information to parents via their newsletter on healthy eating, sun protection and visiting Central Gippsland Health’s dental clinic with their children to learn about oral health.”

St Columbas Kindergarten celebrated its achievement during its own International Day earlier this month. Children and staff dressed in clothing from different countries and enjoyed a multicultural healthy lunch prepared by the staff and children using some ingredients from the kindergarten’s own fruit and vegetable garden.

CGH is providing support to early childhood services, primary and secondary schools through the Achievement Program by guiding them through the process to create a healthier environment in using policies, tools and resources.

“Organisations will be surprised just how easy the process can be by building on the work they’ve done already to support health and wellbeing,” Ms Paton said.

“Services can get Victorian Government recognition as a healthy place and show our community they are leaders in health and wellbeing.”

For more information contact Tracy VanderZalm of Wordwise Communications 0447 491 345.


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