Celebrating healthy eating and oral health achievements at St Leonard's Primary School

Monday 6 March, 2023


St Leonard's Primary School - Greater Geelong has been a member of the Achievement Program since 2012.


To incorporate a whole-of-school health and wellbeing focus, Christine Layley, Student Wellbeing Teacher at St Leonards, was supported by local health promoters and the wider school community.


“To progress through the Achievement Program, we sought support from allied health professionals, Bellarine Community Health, as they have additional resources and ideas. We also utilised community expertise through volunteers and our school community. We had many families willing to help out over the holidays as well as during term with looking after our garden beds. Links with our local garden club meant we had some experts to call on too,” said Mrs Layley.


The school has been recently recognised for their final Achievement Program health priority area, Healthy Eating and Oral Health.


The school’s buildings, facilities, policies and practices support healthy eating and oral health. All snacks, celebrations and events now have healthy options and staff promote healthy food relationships with the students by regularly eating lunch together. Their breakfast club and lunch menus have healthy food and drink options and have met the Healthy Eating Advisory Service requirements via FoodChecker. Families are also encouraged to have conversations about healthy foods and receive information about healthy eating and oral health via the school’s weekly ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ update.   


Bellarine Community Health's Dental team helped out with oral hygiene practices at the school. This involves yearly visits and dental screenings.


The school provides cooking and food experiences, in conjunction with the school’s Kitchen Garden Program and kitchen facilities. These fun and practical activities support students in developing positive relationships with food. A review of their current curriculum was undertaken to ensure students learn about healthy food literacy, skills and positive oral hygiene practices.


The students have been involved in designing and implementing health and wellbeing initiatives. In 2021, St Leonard's Primary School won the Bellarine Community Health's Healthy Communities school holiday VegArt competition where produce from the school’s garden was used for a vegetable art activity. In 2022, a Learning Inquiry topic, ‘How can I be the healthiest me?’ encouraged student contribution through creative displays about physical and mental health.


All staff are supported to access resources from Bellarine Community Health and the Healthy Eating Advisory Service. The school also provides access to a space for breastfeeding and milk storage.


The school maintains partnerships with the Healthy Communities Team and Dental Health Services at Bellarine Community Health who guided staff through the Achievement Program.


As a result of implementing this health area, staff, students and families understand why implementing daily practices such as drinking water and utilising brain food breaks at school are beneficial to learning.

Looking ahead, the school has commenced a Regenerate Our School Plan, which will involve the establishment of an orchard, additional raised garden beds and chickens at school to extend their health promotion practices.


St Leonard's Primary School has been on an incredible Achievement Program journey and have achieved their goal of implementing a whole-of-school approach to health and wellbeing.


“Our involvement in the Achievement Program has been very positive. Our efforts have been sustainable and will continue to grow and develop. Our students are now more aware of the sources of the food they eat and the mental health benefits in terms of matching screen time with green time. Some students just enjoy exploring the garden space to see what they can discover. Some find garden time a positive way to help with self-regulation,” said Mrs Layley.