Healthy Hearts at Active Explorers Richmond

Staff and children at Active Explorers Richmond have never been healthier, and now, thanks to special recognition from the Heart Foundation, they have an award to prove it.

Next Tuesday (June 4), Heart Foundation Nutrition Advisor Lisa Cocks will visit the early learning centre to present them with a Rito Healthy Heart Award, celebrating their achievement in founding a heart-healthy environment. The accolade is part of the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Heart Award programme (Tohu Manawa Ora- Kōhungahunga) which helps early learning services promote healthy eating and physical activity to young children and their families. Rito is the first of three award levels that participating centres can work towards.

“We are so delighted to have successfully started our health journey at Active Explorers Richmond, and both the children and staff are extremely proud to be receiving this award,” says Centre Manager Karmin Marchbanks.

Active Explorers Richmond has been working towards this achievement for more than a year, and their efforts have seen great results.

“We’ve incorporated healthy eating and physical activity into the children’s learning programme and provided resources for parents on healthy eating and physical activity. New centre wide policies have been specifically created and our teachers have participated in additional professional development to build their knowledge and expertise in health.”

The centre cook has even designed a Heart Foundation approved menu for the children’s morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea – a menu which has been met with great enthusiasm from centre children and families.

In a society where ill-health and obesity are rapidly growing problems, the efforts of Active Explorers Richmond staff and children could prove to be life changing. Not only are they sharing their newfound knowledge with their whanau and others outside the centre, but they are also laying a strong foundation for good health and wellbeing throughout their lives.

“Since embarking of this journey the children have had opportunities to try different foods, and every day the food they have eaten has met all their nutritional requirements. Our centre team now has a much better understanding of the nutritional requirements for children and how this can be presented in a menu.  Better still, the children have learnt a lot about keeping healthy and we’ve provided parents with information about healthy, affordable lunch boxes.”

They may have one award under their belt, but Active Explorers Richmond has no plans of easing up on their quest for good health.

“We are meeting with our Nutrition Advisor after the presentation to discuss working towards the Heart Foundation Whanau Award!”