Career & Education

St Michael's Primary students 'eat up' nutrition

Sunday, May 20, 2018

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In recent weeks, students attending St Michael's Primary School in central Kingston have been leaving no leftovers from their lunch, following the introduction of new and nutritious ways of preparing meals at the canteen.

“In the past the grade one students would leave food, but now they eat up. The canteen is now selling off all its lunches,” reports principal Juliet Campbell-McPherson.

She revealed that the school has a new cook, who has been putting into practice the meal preparation tips recently learned at a training workshop hosted by Scotiabank for the canteen staff at St Michael's Primary.

“We now cook with less oil, we use blended natural seasoning rather than the powdered stuff, and we serve more vegetables,” the principal disclosed, adding that the children find the food more attractive the way it is presently being prepared. “We have stopped selling sodas and we will soon phase out bag drinks,” she states.

In addition to the recent training of canteen staff, Scotiabank sent staff volunteers to St Michael's on Teachers' Day (May 9) to share information about proper nutrition with students. The volunteers guided students from grades three, five and six through the 'Top 10 Reasons to Eat More Fruits & Vegetables' poster prepared by Scotiabank for use in its Nutrition for Schools programme.

St Michael's Primary is among some 34 primary schools across the island that benefit from the programme. The recently expanded programme, now in its 18th year, is designed to bring nutrition in children to the forefront, to improve educational outcomes such as attendance and academic performance, as well as to introduce heathy eating to children at the early childhood and primary levels.

Over 13,000 children are expected to be impacted through this initiative. One of the primary areas of focus is serving nutritious meals in schools through training of staff involved in meal preparation.

The St Michael's Primary principal is confident that the Scotiabank-sponsored nutrition programme, now in its third year at the institution, has been contributing to the students' ability to learn. She points to the school's improvement in the Grade Four Literacy Test from a low of 29 per cent five to six years ago, to the current 82 per cent. The school's Grade Six Achievement Test results, she notes, have also been improving.

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