Through our Healthy Ireland programme we work with local schools to provide workshops for parents and children - designed to support them to learn about nutrition, cooking and eating healthy food, and to encourage physical exercise. In 2019, we had a brilliant response from everybody who took part. This year we've had to adapt in response to restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
Healthy Ireland current programme: May 2020
In response to COVID-19 restrictions, we created a series of fun videos for local schoolchildren to help them learn to cook nutritious food at home with their parents, and to teach them the basics of yoga and mindfulness.
The videos are designed to be enjoyable and engaging and to support not only the children’s physical health, but also their mental health and well-being in these challenging times through learning relaxation and mindfulness techniques. Local schools involved in the programme link in with parents to share the videos and ask parents to work through the classes with their children.
Pizza and Winders!
There are six fun healthy eating videos where parents and children can learn together how to make healthy versions of homemade pizza, natural fruit winders, banana bread, granola, smoothies and power balls - followed by a Zoom session where parents and kids can chat about how they got on with tutor Aisling Maher of Cooking Up Change and ask any questions they may have.
Yoga and Mindfulness - be a giraffe!
The Yoga and Mindfulness classes feature four engaging videos for children in the Junior Infants to Second Class age group and four for children in the Third to Sixth Class age group, delivered by professional play therapist and children’s yoga teacher Yvonne Lucas - with children adopting yoga poses by being like an elephant or a giraffe. There are also beginner yoga videos for young people in the secondary school age groups.
Schools involved in the programme include St. Kilian’s Community School and St. Fergal’s, Newtown, Ravenswell, St. Peter’s and St. Kieran’s primary schools, but we're making the videos available to all local schools. The initiative is supported by Healthy Ireland, Co. Wicklow Children & Young People’s Services Committee and our Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme.
Paddy Kinsella, Home School Community Liaison at St. Peter’s Primary School, says :
“The yoga and mindfulness videos are a really helpful resource at this time when children are more anxious about life, and Aisling’s nutritional videos are informative, easy to follow and just as much fun as the face-to-face classes were last year”.
Our collaborative approach
Vital to the success of the venture is the integrated approach of all the partners involved – for example, the Partnership’s Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) plays a key role in the organisation of activities, supporting participation and linking with other services to meet health and well-being needs.
Contact Jennifer Jones on 01 286 8266 to find out more about this initiative.
Cook Eat Share workshops in 2019
Cook Eat Share training - delivered by Cooking Up Change - has a three-pronged approach to making healthy, affordable food accessible to all - working with children, parents and schools to create cultural change around healthy eating.
Programme for Parents: Six-week course for parents in the school to learn about providing healthier, less processed food choices for children - delivered in a relaxed and friendly style - includes food demos, recipe sharing and eating food together with the overall aim of “trying it out” at home and in the lunch boxes. Covers how to 'shop savvy' for value and health, clever store cupboard essentials, label demystifying and preparing a healthier shopping list. The workshops were very well received - one parent said “the cooking class really helped me to go back to basics and start cooking from scratch again”.
In-school Workshop for Students: Covers what a healthy lunchbox looks like, easy food demos, promoting healthier food choices and the importance of physical exercise - delivered using friendly and motivational approaches with the aim of students talking about healthier food choices at home and amongst their peers.
We're delighted how much the children enjoyed the workshops: St. Fergal’s said “the children really looked forward to each workshop as the groups can sometimes be quite tricky to engage, and [teachers] were so impressed at how responsive the children were to the workshops”. Ravenswell said “the positive response from pupils was outstanding”. St. Peter’s noted that when the 6th class children were writing up their passports for secondary schools, the majority of pupils had put down the series of workshops as one of their highlights of the school year.
Below you can see some of the lovely food made by children and parents who took part in this initiative and the project work of students exploring a healthy diet and lifestyle!