Oranges, apples and plums are becoming just as crucial to some Bay of Plenty classrooms as a pen and paper.
More than 11,000 Bay of Plenty children at low-decile primary and intermediate schools have been reaping the benefits of fresh fruit and veges in the classroom.
Now the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust is calling for the initiative to be rolled out to every decile 3 school in the country.
Forty-five schools in the Bay region and 26 schools in the Lakes District benefit from the produce daily.
Government funding for the Fruit in Schools contract was due to roll over next year.
Gate Pa school principal Richard Inder said the initiative had made a world of difference for the overall health of children at the school.
He said the dental nurses had also noticed an improvement in children's oral health.
The school had recently adopted a milk-and-water-only policy and used the fruit as something for the children to "graze on" through the day.
The leftover fruit had also been used in the school's worm-farm and composting, which offered learning opportunities for the children, he said.
Inder said the initiative gave children an insight into what was needed for a healthy lifestyle.
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In all, more than 24 million servings were handed out every year at 550 different schools nationwide.
The Fruit & Vegetables in Schools (FIS) initiative was funded by the Ministry of Health, run by United Fresh and supported by The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust.
Project manager Carmel Ireland said the trust had seen so much value in the initiative and wanted to see it rolled out in every decile 3 school in the country.
The programme was designed to ensure every child had an equal opportunity for a healthy lifestyle, she said.
Merivale School principal Tom Paekau believed the initiative should be rolled out to every school in the country as the benefits were endless.
He said they used the fruit for "brain breaks" when the children needed five minutes to rest before re-engaging.
The children would have fruit three to four times a day, he said. Leftover fruit would go home with children for their families or be taken to the local community centre.
Paekau said the difference he had seen in his children's health and wellbeing spoke volumes about the importance of the programme.
Medical officer of health at Toi Te Ora, Dr Phil Shoemack, said the scheme provided children with high-quality fruit.
He said attentiveness and engagement were often associated with good nutrition and exercise.
Many people forget the influence children have on household decisions and getting them into their healthy fruit and veges can often permeate into the home, he said.
Fruit provided children with vitamins and adequate fibre and eating something like an orange was far more beneficial than full-strength juice or fizzy drink, he said.