Healthy students are better learners.
Students who eat well and are physically active have better:
- school attendance
- cognitive performance (for example, memory)
- attention span and on-task behaviour
- physical wellbeing
- psychological wellbeing
Better Health = Better Learning
No matter what age, healthy students learn better. Children and young people are more likely to do well at school when they:
- have regular healthy meals and snacks
- drink plenty of water
- are physically active every day
- sleep for at least eight hours and
- feel positive about their learning.
Our kids spend around 200 days per year at school, for 12 years. Making schools an important place for children to learn and practice healthy lifestyles.Learning and developing the skills needed to make healthy choices enables students to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing later in life and become healthy, active adults.
Healthy School Communities
It is not just about what happens in the classroom but the whole school environment; the social and physical environment; teaching and learning; school policy; and partnerships and services. A healthy school community involves everyone, including students, teachers, parents, and community members to promote healthy eating and being active. By involving all of these partners, children receive the same messages in the home, school, and community
Healthy school communities are those which:
- have a whole school food policy, ensuring healthy food and drink options are available and promoted in school canteens and vending machines
- have a supportive eating environment that encourages positive social interaction
- promote and provide cool, clean water
- use non-food rewards
- encourage healthy fundraising
- have a whole-school physical activity policy
- develop partnerships with the wider community, for example sporting clubs and community gardens
- encourage students, parents/carers and staff to walk or ride to school under safe conditions
- give parents/carers the opportunity to be involved in the planning and delivery of physical activity opportunities
- ensure that there is appropriate training provided for those involved in providing physical activities
- provide opportunities for all pupils to participate in a broad range of extra curricular activities that promote physical activity
- integrate health and physical education across the curriculum
- promote nutrition education to parents and the wider community
- schedule appropriate levels of physical education and physical activity
- educate students about a balanced diet and how to plan, budget, prepare and cook meals, including understanding the need to avoid eating foods that are high in salt, sugar and fat, while eating more fruit and vegetables.
Support for schools:
- curriculum ideas
- Eat Well SA Healthy Eating Guidelines for SA schools and preschools
- healthy eating policy templates for schools, preschools and canteens, healthy fundraising and more
The Healthy Eating Curriculum Kit for South Australian Primary Schools (second edition) has lesson plans for the classroom.