Food for Thought: Good nutrition will improve a child’s learning ability

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From Kim Hanson and Lyndsey Evans.

WE would like to say that your article of 25 June regarding the Food for Thought campaign only touched on the message we were trying to deliver.

Your article gave the impression that catering facilities would have to be built at primary schools to enable children to benefit from hot, cooked meals. This is not the case. We realised some time ago that building catering facilities at existing primary schools would not be on the agenda.

Though we did question why recently constructed schools have not had kitchen facilities included. Your article did not explain to the reader that there are other options available, as used by Jamie Oliver, whereby those schools which do not have their own kitchen utilise kitchens in the local vicinity, some of those being local pubs or community centres.

It was also mentioned that teaching and learning is a prime concern. This is also our concern, but try teaching a child who cannot concentrate because they have only had one bite of a sandwich and think of the child trying to learn and use their brain when they have not had enough fuel to feed the brain, hence the campaign called Food for Thought.

Good nutrition will improve a child’s learning ability; our concern is not only the teaching and learning, but the nutrition, wellbeing and a healthy balanced diet for our children. Educating children at a young age to eat well also helps to fight the increasing signs of obesity which should clearly be a part of a child’s education.

There are so many points missed from your article, that it makes the prospect of healthy school meals out of reach, when in fact it is not. It does not necessarily require the involvement of building a kitchen onto existing schools and the cost does not have to fall at the feet of the States, but could come from an outside source.

Can we also add that receiving food from an outside source, as with some involved with Jamie Oliver’s campaign, does not mean providing fast food? Healthy meals can be supplied in this way and this is the point we are trying to get across.

We also realise advice is available through the Healthy Schools Programme, but how healthy can a sandwich be 38 weeks of the year, bearing in mind children only tend to like one filling?

We would also like to point out that the idea of a healthy hot meal is not necessarily to replace a family evening meal.

All this and more was included in our original campaign document and it is disappointing that these important points were omitted in the published article.

Roscrea Cottage,

Rue de l’Eglise,

St John.

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