A+ for Camperdown Kindergarten, first Corangamite site to achieve all health areas
Camperdown Kindergarten is Corangamite’s first early childhood service to be awarded Victorian Government recognition for all six Healthy Early Childhood Services Achievement Program health areas.
The recognition comes after three years of hard work by the service, which began participating in the program in 2017, building on existing health and wellbeing initiatives in place.
Director Bronwyn O’Keeffe said participating in the enriching Achievement Program journey has delivered many positive outcomes, such as an increase in staff, assistance in reinforcing health messages with children and families, and opening up new opportunities for the team.
The kindergarten’s health and wellbeing commitment has seen healthy improvements made to policies and practices, the culture, the kindergarten’s physical environment and the healthy activities available.
“We’ve introduced plenty of new activities centred around the program’s health areas. The joy children and their families shared while taking part – learning and having fun – has been wonderful,” Ms O’Keeffe said.
Completing the program has helped Camperdown Kindergarten to make many healthy changes, some of which include:
- Improving safety with Safety Week Activities such as road safety, bike safety and using the weather to draw children’s attention to safety hazards, including slipperiness due to morning dew or rain, and sunburn risk.
- New community partnership with the local Lifeline Shop, which led to celebrating Stress Down Day, a day designed to reduce stress and promote happiness.
- Creation of ‘Fresh Air Day’ a fun-filled event focused on breathing clear air, with activities such as a smelling station containing different objects for children to smell and a variety of breathing meditation games.
- Confidential smoking cessation support service for staff.
- Nature bus incursion providing nature-based learning activities and information.
- Encouraging active transport such as walking to and from the kindergarten, including a kinder version of Walk to School.
- Reviewed and updated the ‘Nutrition, Food, Beverage, Dietary Requirements and Oral Health Policy’ as part of Smiles 4 Miles.
- New activities focused on ‘Child’s Voice’, which has been incorporated into planning. The activities aim to address the needs and interests of the children, for example children can bring in toys from home or talk about an experience they really enjoyed.
- Staff model and participate in all large and small group activities and are conscious of participating in play both indoors and in the playground.
The healthy efforts were supported by South West Healthcare’s local health promoter Alexandra Bell, who said that shaping positive behaviour change is “a real joy of the job.”
“Camperdown Kindergarten is leading the way in terms of health and wellbeing. The kinder has embraced all six health areas and done such an amazing job, it’s inspiring to see!”
Ms Bell said the Achievement Program is “a great way to build on the work you’re already doing in the health and wellbeing space,” recommending the program to any service who wishes to create healthy, sustainable change.
Further information about the program is available here.