AUT Millennium is proud to partner with Nestlé in delivering Healthy Active Kids days throughout the year, bringing school-aged children on site for a day of fun activities and nutrition education.
The children enjoy individual and group challenges like rock climbing, athletics relays and water safety education when they’re onsite at AUT Millennium, as well as a nutrition talk over a healthy lunch. This is a practical application of in-class learning around similar topics. The day of activity is supported within the classroom by a series of enquiry-based resources, providing children with engaging activities to learn more about physical education, nutrition and hydration using key skills such as mathematics, critical thinking and technology.
For Shea Bowden, the Deputy Principal of Manurewa West Primary School, the programme has had a big impact on her students over the past three years. “A large majority of our community don’t have money for activities like these, making it even more important to have these opportunities through school,” she says. “The Healthy Active Kids resources are part of our school health programme and are used right across the school.” The resources are developed in line with the national curriculum, are innovative and informative, and engage kids in an age appropriate way. From portion plates and food diaries through to exercise tracking, children enjoy applying their learning using the colourful and stimulating material.
The in-class elements are an important part of the Healthy Active Kids programme, and the AUT Millennium activity day helps cement these lessons. “Learning doesn’t just happen inside a classroom,” Shea explains. “Hands-on activities are the best way to engage students and make a link between theory and practical elements. The majority of our students are Maori/Pasifika, and tend to be more kinesthetic as learners. Education outside the classroom gives them the opportunity to consolidate their learning.” The days are always well-received by students. “The day at AUT Millennium is always a highlight on the school calendar,” Shea says. “The children love to be part of activities they haven’t done before. It helps to broaden their understanding of what being active is, and the different ways this can be achieved on their own and when their having fun with their whānau!”
The school continues to dedicate resources to the health and wellness of their students and families, with the Board of Trustees funding a specialist physical education teacher to help make the PE programme fun for the children. “Along with the Healthy Active Kids programme, this is making a difference to how our students view being active and what a healthy lifestyle is,” Shea tells. “Students at this age are reliant on family to provide healthy food, they know what they should be eating but are not always able to access it. As a school, we run workshops for families about healthy eating. We can see many families are really trying to make healthy choices.”
Nestlé is a major sponsor of Manurewa West Primary School, having funded and built an enviro-garden and school greenhouse to help facilitate the lessons from the programme. The school are looking to run a “MWPS Kitchen Rules” series using produce from the enviro-garden for families to cook with, and the school canteen is following suit by changing their offerings. Even rewards for the children are in line with being healthy and active. “Children with 100% attendance are able to access bikes and scooters and have free time using these on Fridays, instead of ‘treats’ and screen time,” Shea shares.
AUT Millennium and Nestlé are both committed to facilitating a healthy future for New Zealanders, especially the younger generation. For Nestlé’s Community Programme Manager Katrina Shepherd, it’s a rewarding programme which the company is excited by. “Each year, we love working with Shea and her team to deliver Nestlé for healthier kids,” she says. “We love seeing how they are incorporating healthy living at school and in the home, and we look forward to coming back to in 2020.” As a school, Manurewa West Primary are always looking to provide the best opportunities, experiences and education for their students, and it’s a vision Shea is hoping will extend into their wider community. “We have future plans to incorporate our families even more, so students and whānau can learn alongside each other.”
For more about the Nestlé Healthy Active Kids programme, or if you are a primary school teacher interested in your class attending a Nestlé Healthy Active Kids education outside the classroom day at AUT Millennium, visit www.healthyactivekids.co.nz. You can also check out a video of what kids get up to when they’re at AUT Millennium, by visiting www.autmillennium.org.nz/healthy-active-kids-aut-millennium