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Healthy spaces in Canberra schools

Kate Freeman

There’s something very exciting happening in Canberra schools. They’re becoming healthier.

After shocking results a few years ago with receiving the title of Australia’s unhealthiest school canteens, new programs and initiatives from the ACT Government means this label should now be a thing of the past.

One of the newest initiatives to hit Canberra school, Arawang Primary, is a new hospitality learning space dedicated to healthy eating. The new healthy space consists of a cafe, canteen and teaching kitchen with the aim to promote authentic learning and healthy lifestyles by encouraging students to grow fresh produce and practice healthy home-style cooking.

The $560,000 facility is supported by the Stephanie Alexander Garden Initiative and works alongside the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines. It’ll be available to children from years three to six who’ll have the opportunity to harvest from the Stephanie Alexander garden, engage in cooking in the new kitchen and enhance their literacy, numeracy, science and social skills while interacting and learning at the Bluebell Cafe.

The early years of our lives hold a vital key to our long term health and wellbeing. Skills that are taught during childhood such as growing, cooking and preparing food, stay with a person well into their adult years. Having cooking and basic kitchen skills in order to nourish ourselves through food shouldn’t just be reserved to those who are interested in cooking or aim to be a ‘Masterchef’. It should be something that everyone can do as a means of basic self-care.

The busyness of our lives often means that time spend in food preparation is a lot less than it used to be and skills are not being passed down from parent to child. I believe that a combination of both school education and learning from the family is our best long term approach to improving the future health of our nation.

I’m so happy to see these initiatives pop up in Canberra schools and I encourage everyone – parents, teachers and other members of the community to really support their school in making these programs have a long and happy life and teach children these important basics well into the future.

If you’re a parent who lacks cooking skills and find healthy food preparation difficult or overwhelming make a commitment to learn. It can be a family affair – with everyone educating themselves and learning together.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock.


Kate Freeman

Kate Freeman is a Registered Nutritionist and the founder and managing director of The Healthy Eating Hub. Kate’s healthy eating philosophy is all about whole, fresh foods, being realistic about life and creating long term healthy eating habits. She doesn’t believe in detoxes, fad diets or quick fixes. Once you’ve finished working with Kate, you’ll be empowered to feed yourself well for the rest of you life! More about the Author