Preschool kids say no thanks to sugar
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.