A Croydon primary school has received the Food for Life Bronze Award for its healthy and climate-friendly food culture. Oasis Academy Shirley Park Primary transformed the school and local community’s food culture by undertaking activities encouraging pupils to grow and consume healthy and climate-friendly food.
Youngsters at Oasis Academy Shirley Park Primary learned to grow vegetables in their class gardens, a fun and climate-friendly way to make a healthy snack, and also brought their creativity to the garden, drawing self-portraits on pots then growing a salad leaf to represent their hair. As well as food growing activities, each pupil also has the opportunity to visit a farm and cook during their time in school through a food technology curriculum recently expanded by purchasing kitchen trollies for each phase of the school to enable practical cooking lessons.
The healthy eating initiative didn’t stop at the school’s doors, but expanded into the local community. As part of their weekly newsletter, the school provided a ‘Food for Life Recipe Card,’ getting families involved at home, they then sent in a picture of their final products.
In addition to learning how to grow healthy food, the school makes sure pupils have the opportunity to eat healthy food as well. The caterer uses a carousel menu which rotates through a three week cycle, so pupils have a balanced and varied diet. With a new seasonal menu each term and three different main meals offered each day, pupils have plenty of healthy options to choose from. 75% of all meals are freshly prepared by experienced school cook, Diana Galvin of Sodexo. For those students who bring their lunch from home, the school has also introduced a Packed Lunch Policy encouraging healthy and balanced lunches.
Looking forward, the school has planned a virtual ‘Salad Garden’ activity where Nursery children and parents /carers can plant a pot with various salad seeds and they can grow them at home.
Deputy Principal, Laura Evry commented, “I am incredibly proud that the academy has been awarded with the Bronze Food for Life Award, this has been achieved by the hard work of school staff, catering staff and the local community, who have come together to ensure healthy food is provided for all as well as plenty of opportunity for growing our own food.”
The school’s catering manager commented “Onwards and upwards”
Food for Life has created network of over 4,500 schools across England committed to transforming their food culture. It supports them to provide fresh, well-sourced and nutritious meals and improve their overall lunchtime experience. It helps children, adults and teachers understand the importance of good nutrition and where their food comes from through practical cooking and growing activities and farm visits.