Food&Me: building teacher capacity to deliver nutrition education to ACT primary school students

Evidence demonstrates that establishing healthy eating habits during childhood contributes to healthy eating into adulthood. Nutrition Australia ACT and ACT Health have developed a suite of evidence-based, nutrition education resources called Food&MEâ„¢. This presentation provides an overview of Food&MEâ„¢, strategies used in the ACT to build capacity of primary school teachers to deliver nutrition education including digital resources - an online course and strategies to promote student and parent engagement. Food&MEâ„¢ was launched in 2014 as a component of Fresh Tastes - an ACT Government obesity prevention initiative that supports ACT primary schools to develop a healthy food and drink environment using a strengths-based, whole school approach. The Food&MEâ„¢ Nutrition Education Units were developed to provide teachers with consistent and evidence-based teaching materials that align with The Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education , The Early Years Learning Framework and The Australian Dietary Guidelines. They include sequential learning modules from Preschool through to Year 6, and enable content differentiation to accommodate diverse learning needs in the classroom. Since 2014, there has been a focus on building the capacity of ACT teachers to deliver nutrition education using Food&MEâ„¢. As at August 2016, over 750 ACT primary school teachers have attended face-to-face professional learning accredited by the ACT Teacher Quality institute. An online course was released in 2016 to offer teachers an alternative to the face to face training. In 2017 there will be a focus on strengthening student and parent engagement strategies to extend and support student learning in the home environment. Key words: Health promotion; behaviour change; community development/engagement, capacity building, food, nutrition; child health; education Key Messages: 1. Strategies used in the ACT to build capacity of primary school teachers to deliver nutrition education including digital resources 2. Strategies to promote student and parent engagement. 3. Strengthening nutrition education in primary schools as part of a whole school approach.

Nicole Coyles

ACT Health, ACT Government

Nicole Coyles works in the Health Improvement Branch at ACT Health, ACT Government, and is the program manager for Fresh Tastes. She has 10 years experience in designing and delivering health behaviour change initiatives in the ACT, and has a background in public health nutrition.

Leanne Elliston is the Program Manager for Nutrition Australia ACT Inc, a not for profit organisation dedicated to inspiring healthy food choices in the ACT community. As an Accredited Practising Dietitian, Leanne has over 15 years experience working in both clinical and community settings. With a passion for educating children on evidence-based nutrition, Leanne led the development of the Food&ME;™ nutrition education units.