Their ongoing support roles with the Achievement Program (a free health and wellbeing initiative open to Victorian schools, early childhood services and workplaces) has helped Corangamite Shire’s cluster-managed kindergartens be recognised by the Victorian Government for improving the health of local children.
With more than 200 children between them, Cobden & District Kindergarten, Simpson & District Kindergarten, Timboon & District Kindergarten, Skipton Kindergarten, Western Plains Mobile Preschool and Terang Children’s Centre have impressively met best-practice benchmarks to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their young charges.
The Achievement Program (AP) supports participating schools, early childhood services and workplaces to create healthier learning and working environments by achieving a series of targets for key health areas such as healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing, physical activity, and safe environments. By achieving the health area targets, members can receive Victorian Government recognition.
Some of the activities implemented by the six kindergartens include:
Simpson and District Kindergarten early childhood educator Jane Bennett says there’s been positive outcomes in their children’s behaviours and interactions with each another.
‘The use of relaxation and mindfulness exercises have been a very rewarding experience for not only the children and families, but also for the staff,’ Jane explains.
SWH health promotion team leader Alexandra Bell and Terang and Mortlake Health Service health promotion officer Laura Stevenson are thrilled with the participating kindergartens’ AP journeys and can’t wait to see which health priority area they tackle next. Both say the Achievement Program’s a great way of building on the work already done in the health and wellbeing space and they’d strongly recommend the program to any setting wanting to create healthy change.
In a recent survey conducted as part of the Corangamite Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan, 42% of community members ranked social and emotional wellbeing as their number-one priority.