Pearsall Primary School - Excellence every day
Pearsall Primary School in Perth's northern suburbs has worked hard since opening in 2013 to ensure a caring, orderly and supportive place in which students can achieve their potential. Part of this strategy was for them to register as both a Crunch&Sip® and SunSmart school. We spoke to year one teacher, Stephanie Benjamin on how the school has implemented the programs at Pearsall Primary School.
Q: What do you see as the main benefits of being a Crunch&Sip® and SunSmart school?
A: Crunch&Sip® reinforces healthy eating messages and teaches children the benefits of enjoying fruit and vegetables; it also gives children a chance to try different foods, instead of the usual apples and oranges. Teachers have also noticed positive behaviours as a result of Crunch&Sip®. Sun Smart reinforces sun safety messages and encourages children to take preventive measures to protect their skin from the sun.
Q: How do you incorporate SunSmart practices into school activities?
A: Hats are always worn during outdoor lessons and all school-based events such as the lap-a-thon, our faction carnival and gardening time. We also have access to a large undercover assembly area that is used during sports time on extremely hot days.
Q: What are/were the main barriers that your school has faced in implementing the programs and how did you overcome these?
A: Pearsall Primary School didn't have any shades areas. The P&C have been very active in raising funds to help the school and this year we were lucky to have a shade sail erected over the tiered seating around parts of the oval to provide the students with shade. This has been a blessing, especially coming into the summer months.
Every class participates in Crunch&Sip® and based on student surveys the only issue they have is that students want to have the option to eat their Crunch whenever they want during the day, rather than having a set time. This occurs in some upper primary classes. According to parent surveys, one issue parents raised was they would like their children to taste and try new foods during school times, citing that if fruit and vegetables came from the school or teachers that students may be more inclined to try them.
Q: How do you keep the school community interested in the programs?
A: We provide tips and healthy food recipes in our fortnightly newsletters. Most junior classes also participate in cooking sessions, with students using fresh produce and herbs from the school garden. We feel that if students are a part of the planting, growing and picking of their foods they are more inclined to eat it. We also have access to apple slinky machines which can be used as an enticement to bring Crunch&Sip®. In 2016 we are introducing Veggie Munch Monday where the Crunch&Sip® for that day must be vegetable-based to help students enjoy more veggies in their diet.
Q: What do parents say about the programs?
A: SunSmart - 'Introducing SunSmart at a young age helps reinforce the practice at home. Living in Australia this practice is very important for my children'.
Crunch&Sip®- 'Children understand the importance of eating fruit and vegetables. It's an essential life skill'
Q: What do students say about the program?
SunSmart- 'You have to protect your body by wearing sunscreen and a hat so you don't get sunburnt' Year 1
Crunch&Sip®- 'It is a nice healthy snack you can have' Year 6
At Pearsall Primary School the Crunch&Sip® and SunSmart messages are embedded in everyday learning and ensure that the school is a happy and healthy place for all students.