PRIMARY school teachers from County Wicklow, recently joined teaching colleagues from across the region for a Food Dudes Presentation Day to celebrate the achievements of 540 schools that have completed their three-year participation in the award-winning Food Dudes Programme.
The three-year curriculum-linked program includes a year of intervention, followed by two in-school Food Dudes Weeks, aimed at promoting health eating habits amongst primary school children. The healthy eating program encourages children to eat more fresh produce and is based on repeated tastings of fresh fruit and vegetables, rewards and positive role models.
Primary school teachers from the Garden County attended the event, including Aline Atkinson of The Glebe Ns in Wicklow town, Helen Oxley from Kiltegan NS and Aoife Murphy of Scoil Mhuire na nAird in Shillelagh.
A new and improved Food Dudes program is currently being rolled out in schools and includes new varieties of fruits and vegetables, additional tasting days, new eco-friendly rewards, as well as new teaching and learning materials which include videos, recipes and a range of bilingual activities.
The Food Dudes Presentation Days provide teachers with an opportunity to network and feel part of a community of change. Ideas about ways in which the Food Dudes program can be integrated into the curriculum and daily routines are shared, and peer to peer support is encouraged.
There are currently 1,700 primary schools engaged in the three-year Food Dudes programme, creating a movement of life-long change embedding healthy eating within the school and wider community in a way that promotes healthy eating habits among children, helps to reduce obesity rates, and improve overall wellbeing. Over the lifetime of Food Dudes, over 3,300 primary schools and more than one million pupils have taken part.