To work in partnership with families and professional outside agencies to support our children to develop healthy eating practices, which will become embedded for life.
To raise awareness with children to develop a positive approach to food nutrition and oral health education.
To promote positive attitudes towards healthy eating and oral health as necessary and enjoyable aspects of children’s lives in order to help them make independent and informed choices.
To encourage responsibility of parents/carers in offering healthy choices to our children.
What are the values that inform this policy?
We want the children to understand that good nutritious food is essential to their ability to learn as well as to their long-term health.
We want the children to apply their knowledge about food and make healthy choices both in and out of school.
We believe that every adult at St Michael’s Primary School can play a part in making sure that the children develop positive attitudes to food, make informed choices and enjoy eating healthily.
We believe that food has a role in developing young people’s social skills.
We want children to have an opportunity to experience cooking and learn some core skills by the time they leave the school.
An annual meeting occurs between the school cook and the SELB school’s meals supervisor at the beginning of the school year.
The school cook sends a flier home to parents in September regarding nutritional standards.
Parents/carers of children who are on special diets for medical reasons, or children with allergies, will be asked to provide as much information as possible about suitable foods.
(The principal attended an Allergy Awareness Training course and subsequent feedback was provided to the staff).
Water in school
Children have access to free and fresh water throughout the school day.
Children in P6-P7 are encouraged to bring in their own water bottles into their classroom and are allowed to drink water whenever they feel thirsty.
Children from P1-P5 have access to drinking water in their class from an open cup.
Children who eat hot lunch have water and juice on their tables.
Food throughout the school day:
We recognise the importance of eating a balanced breakfast and realise that it is hard to concentrate on learning and maintaining energy levels without breakfast.
Healthy break procedures were discussed and agreed to at a whole staff level in Term 1 2009. This information is being sent home to parents.
Parents are encouraged to provide a healthy break for their child/children. Chocolate, biscuits, crisps and cakes are discouraged at break time snacks. Fruit and/or a water based drink are encouraged.
The school provides P1-P2 with a healthy snack and drink at break time.
A healthy break is promoted and enforced from P1-P2. This establishes good practice from the onset and is monitored appropriately. P3-P7 children are encouraged to eat a healthy break.
We aim to provide our children with good quality, healthy food and we actively promote healthy choices.
The weekly menu is on display for the children in classrooms and given out monthly to each family.
Children will be encouraged to develop good eating skills and table manners at lunch time. This is achieved by:
- Sitting freely with their friends
- Eating packed lunches and school dinners in the same vicinity
- Adults helping younger children to cut up their food
- Being encouraged to try a variety of food at lunch times to develop a balanced diet
- Entering and leaving the dining hall in an orderly way, to show respect for those who are eating
- Leaving the dinner hall in an orderly way to show respect for those who are eating
- Leaving the dinner hall clean and tidy after meals are completed
- Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to the dinner lades and supervisors
- Saying prayers before and after each dinner/lunch time
Food in the curriculum
We exploit opportunities within the existing curriculum to discuss and work with food.
We recognise that food has great potential for cross-curricular work. Formal food and healthy education is delivered via the World Around Us (Science): Healthy died, teeth, exercise, food and hygiene. There are also topics in PDMU and Alive-O.
Teaching and Learning
In P1 and P2 staff will be present with children during their snack time to provide a good role model, lead in conversation, encourage good manners and eating skills.
Food and cooking activities are used in a variety of ways to teach children and widen their experience of food, by being given the opportunity to touch, taste, smell and feel a variety of foods (eg, Fruit week linked to European Day of Languages).
On special occasions (party days, birthdays, matches) or as a reward for good work/behaviour, teachers may give children a small sweet/chocolate.
As well as encouraging healthy eating skills in our school, we promote the importance of exercising by providing a wide range of sporting activities both after school and through the existing curriculum.
Supporting the school community
The bi-annual DELTA training for new parents involves a session on healthy eating and lifestyles.
All new P1 and P2 children are provided with a school booklet which contains information about Healthy snacks and the importance of exercise.
P2 – P7 staff avail of the induction meetings in September to remind parents/careers about the importance of providing their children with food that is healthy, balanced and nutritious.
We would like to include a cookery session during the school year involving the parents and children of P5 – P7 to encourage healthy and nutritious eating.
In order to safeguard children with allergies to nuts, no food products containing nuts of any kind are allowed in school. St Michael’s PS is therefore a nut-free zone. Parents of children who take lunch or break-time snacks are reminded to check products regularly for any traces of nuts or nut by-products and not to include these with their children’s snacks.
Monitoring and evaluating this policy
This is a working policy – this draft will go to consultation with the principal and the whole staff and will then be disseminated to parents.
We will review this policy as and when needed.