Hearty efforts earn reward

By Christine McKay

Central Kindergarten is the first early childhood centre in Dannevirke to receive the Heart Foundation's healthy heart award.

Head teacher Hilary Hirst said: "We're committed to making our kindergarten a healthy place, with the focus on lots of healthy eating and exercise."

She said policies at the centre tie in with the healthy heart message and staff, children and their families have made the six-month journey together.

"We even have a dad, Alex, come in each week and bake with the children.

"With everything from healthy face plates and making our own bread and sandwiches and lots of physical education, we're promoting a healthy lifestyle."

Hilary said the children at the kindergarten often make use of the adjacent Dagmar St reserve for exercise sessions with parachutes.

"We work on upper body and fine motor skills, so important in the development of our little ones."

Last week Lucy Olsen, the health promotion co-ordinator for the Heart Foundation, was at Central to present the children with their certificate recognising the centre's first step on the awards tree.

"There are five centres from Norsewood to Dannevirke working towards their awards which are partially funded by the Ministry of Health and the Heart Foundation," she said.

Lucy, whose area takes in Wairoa, Wanganui and Wairarapa, said she's seeing great strides in health awareness.

"The idea behind the programme is to build healthier environments and many schools and centres have edible gardens and nutritional polices," she said.

"Central Kindergarten have done an amazing job in achieving their award."

There are three levels in the healthy heart programme, Rito, Whanau and Pa-Harakeka. Central Kindergarten has achieved Rito, the entry-level award.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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