Preschool kids say no thanks to sugar

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Chil­dren at St Mark’s Preschool are sweet as can be even with­out the sug­ary treats.

The roll of 35 chil­dren spent six months elim­i­nat­ing food and drink that were seen as un­healthy by the cen­tre staff.

As a part of the Whanau Healthy Heart pro­gramme St Marks staff put a ban on the foods dur­ing cen­tre hours.

And be­cause of their ded­i­ca­tion the cen­tre won a Healthy Heart award.

Un­der-2s head teacher Sharn Jones said it did not come with­out chal­lenges.

‘‘It took a lit­tle while for families to re­alise it was about giv­ing our chil­dren healthy choices,’’ she said.

But it did not take long for families to ‘‘come on board’’, Jones said.

Af­ter es­tab­lish­ing a rou­tine it be­came nat­u­ral, she said, and the chil­dren were even ‘‘ polic­ing’’ them­selves.

‘‘If some­one cracks a choco­late milk the kids say ‘oh he’s got a choco­late milk’,’’ she said.

The pro­gramme also meant staff had to send through doc­u­men­ta­tion and proof.

‘‘They’ve been mon­i­tor­ing us, it’s been quite a big process but it’s been worth it,’’ she said.

Jones said there had also been no­tice­able ben­e­fits since the chil­dren started,

‘‘The chil­dren are bet­ter for it . . . they have more en­ergy in­stead of peaks with un­healthy sug­ary drinks,’’ she said.

As well as cut­ting back on sugar the chil­dren also par­take in more ex­er­cise.

Jones said the cen­tre will con­tinue with the pro­gramme.

Hearty wel­come: St Mark’s Com­mu­nity Preschool have been get­ting healthy and it has paid off in more ways than one.

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