All smiles at Perridak Burron Early Learning where children are embracing great oral health
The Sector > Provider > General News > All smiles at Perridak Burron Early Learning where children are embracing great oral health

All smiles at Perridak Burron Early Learning where children are embracing great oral health

by Freya Lucas

October 12, 2022

The children and educators at Perridak Burron Early Learning, an Aboriginal community-owned education and care service in Victoria have embedded health priorities into their centre with support from Smiles 4 Miles (an initiative of Dental Health Services Victoria – DHSV), the Healthy Eating Advisory Service (HEAS) and Ballarat Community Health.


Top of the bill are measures to support children’s oral health and healthy eating habits, which have been highlighted in a new video case study


Services like Perridak Burron are helping to “set families up for success”, said Smiles 4 Miles Coordinator Demelza Diacogiorgis, by instilling good oral health and healthy eating habits for life.


“We hope that Perridak Burron’s holistic, whole-of-service approach to healthy eating and oral health will inspire other early childhood education and care (ECEC) services to also make positive changes,” she added.


“Early childhood is a crucial stage in learning and development. Promoting health messages in simple ways enables children attending ECEC settings to get a healthy start.”


Healthy eating and good oral health are vital for the healthy development of children and are key determinants of good health in later life. Tooth decay is largely preventable. Public dental data shows that approximately one in four children aged five years and under who presented to public dental clinics in 2021-22 have a history of tooth decay and only six per cent of Victorian children aged two to 17 eat the recommended serves of fruit and vegetables per day.


With Ms Diacogiorgis’s support, Perridak Burron successfully achieved their Smiles 4 Miles award by implementing a healthy eating and oral health policy, engaging with families about the importance of oral health, and educating children through a variety of fun learning experiences based on the Smiles 4 Miles key messages – ‘Drink well, Eat well and Clean well’.


In addition, Perridak Burron worked closely with HEAS to improve the food and drink provision at the service. They completed a full menu assessment using the online menu assessment tool, FoodChecker, and introduced new menu items by taking inspiration from the recipes available on the HEAS website to meet the menu planning guidelines for long day care.


When asked for the advice she’d share with other ECEC services Director Sophie Collins said taking a whole team approach would achieve the best results. 


“We involved not only our management team, but also our full-time, part-time and casual educators in the process,” she explained.


“We recognised that there would need to be some changes made to our menu and our practices and we embraced this opportunity to learn and grow as a team.”


Watch the Perridak Burron case study here

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