Jubilee Christian College was one of the first schools in the Cairns region to sign up to Healthy Eats in 2021. Working on the program across a challenging school year, peppered with COVID lockdowns and protocols, the school achieved official Healthy Eats accreditation at the end of 2021.
“Healthy Eats has made a noticeable difference to the eating habits and food attitudes of our cohort, and we are so pleased to be able to support our school community in this way,” said Mr. Wayne Ralph, Jubilee Christian College Healthy Eats Coordinator.
Nestled within the Atherton Tablelands, in a climate great for growing many different types of crops, the school created a beautiful community garden, lovingly tended by a group of staff, student, and parent volunteers, which fit right into the whole school approach of the Healthy Eats program.
Year 2 student Jessica loved being involved in looking after the garden.
“I like being in garden club because we can plant some new plants like beetroot, carrot and beans and I like learning about them,” said Jessica.
The garden is situated in a high traffic area and is visible to the school community, providing a constant reminder of the connection between food and how it is grown. The garden often produces enough fruits, veggies and herbs so they can be used by the community – often going toward school cooking classes and to families of the school.
The Healthy Eats student leaders also played an important role in bringing Healthy Eats to life at Jubilee Christian College.
“We had a group of students from our Year 5/6 class who volunteered to be Healthy Eats leaders, and they took great pride in promoting healthy eating to other students in the school. They encouraged students to pack healthy foods and snacks in their lunchboxes, especially for brain break, and were very active in promoting and caring for the garden.
“We definitely saw an improvement in student attitudes toward healthy foods and improvements in lunchbox items as a result of the student leadership activities,” said Mr. Ralph.
The Healthy Eats program integrated easily into school activities, following curriculum and providing opportunities for staff to refresh or gain new knowledge around nutrition education.
“It was a great catalyst for us as educators to focus on the long-term effects of eating healthy food and gave us the opportunity to make a positive change in the eating practices of families as well.
“I would definitely recommend other schools take up the program and the accreditation pathway. It has certainly been a positive experience for our school,” said Mr Ralph.