Iain Robertson, headmaster at Buckholme Towers School and Nursery discusses why educating students on nutrition and exercise is essential to ensure they form good habits to take them into adulthood.

“These days we are constantly bombarded with shocking statistics in the media about childhood obesity. At Buckholme we were awarded ‘Healthy Schools Status’ and we firmly believe that if children are taught about nutrition and exercise in the early years, they will learn that they can eat and drink foods that they love, as long as they eat in moderation and keep active.

“We start teaching pupils about good and bad foods when they join us in nursery. Children aged two years and nine months to four learn about foods of the world, write recipes for balanced meals and have practical cooking lessons making fruit smoothies and healthy snacks.

Working with parents

“When pupils join the school, parents have the option to give their students packed lunches or to take the school lunch option which is provided by local restaurant La Cruz. If children have the school lunch option they have the choice of filling and nutritious meals such as cottage pie, pasta and soups. We regularly report back to parents about their child’s eating habits if they are eating too little, too much, or they don’t like certain foods. For those who bring in their own lunch, meals are monitored to make sure the boxes contain the right amount of food and it is balanced. Any issues are reported back to the parents straight away.

“Keeping healthy is not just about the foods we eat, we encourage our students to keep as active as possible and participate in the wide range of sports on offer, from tennis to rugby and sailing. Physical activities are included at Buckholme as part of the national curriculum and we also offer after school activities to appeal to pupils of different ages and abilities. Year on year we aim to increase the amount of sports on offer and from September we will be incorporating even more activities into the curriculum.

Developing good habits from an early age

“While it is important to instil good habits into students at a young age, we are also very aware that children are more easily influenced at a younger age; with this in mind we recognise the importance of helping children to develop positive feelings about their bodies and maintaining high levels of self-esteem.

“Overall it is important to remember that keeping pupils healthy can have a positive effect on how successful they are in school – healthy minds need healthy bodies! We feel it is vital to work closely with parents to ensure their child is given the correct messages about maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle, so that they have an increased chance of taking this knowledge and these habits into adulthood.”