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Healthy eating by the bucketful

Children collecting rocks in a bucket may not seem to have much to do with healthy eating, yet it is an essential part of a healthy eating programme taught in more than 45 schools in the central regions in the past year by Harbour Training.

Kay Wood, the power behind Harbour, set up her company in March 2006 as a way to straddle many of the requirements placed on schools by the Scottish Exec-utive. "I became interested in children's health at the birth of my son (he's now 11) and in what he was learning regarding healthy eating and enterprise," says Ms Wood, who has a training and management background.

She also recognised the pressures on teachers, so created a programme that combines healthy eating with enterprise. It also covers Health Promoting Schools and A Curriculum for Excellence.

"If you give the pupils ownership then they are much more willing to participate," she says. "So I help prepare them for running their own healthy tuck shop."

Ms Wood works with the pupils over four visits, discussing all aspects of running a business from applying and interviewing for jobs; finance; advertising and marketing and health and hygiene. The course, costing Pounds 395, covers requirements for enterprise, language, maths, personal and social education, ICT and more. The exercise with the rocks, where two pupils are directed by their classmates on how to place them in the bucket to fit them all in, illustrates the value of team working.

Some schools have bought in Ms Wood's time to cover McCrone hours, while others have asked her to work in class with the teachers. Pupil ages have varied from P5 to P7, and the tuck shops have been set up to run for the whole year, or for short bursts to raise money for specific causes.

"The Healthy Tuck Shop is an enterprise project, but it can be run indefinitely and, as the children are doing it, it takes minimum input from the teacher," says Ms Wood.

All teachers are provided with materials and notes, and Ms Wood is working on a CD for ease of storage. She has also been asked by one authority to develop the course as a continuing professional development project for teachers.

* www.healthytuck.co.uk

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