Case studies

Regent Kindergarten have Hearts of Gold

Regent Kindy Resized for LBH

Regent Kindy are finding new ways to inspire and give while gaining their award

Beststart Regent Kindy is celebrating our back to back Healthy Heart Gold Award. With great pride and joy, we would like to share our success to our children, whanau and local community who helped us achieve this award. We also want to share our journey to serve as an inspiration to help others live a fun, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our healthy heart journey began in 2017 when we learnt about the Heart Foundation's healthy heart awards. We worked together with our children and whanau to make our lunchboxes healthy. We supported our whanau to understand the importance of good nutrition and healthy eating habits to children's development and long term health. We also engaged in lots of active movement activities and parent education seminars to educate the children, staff and parents on the importance of active movement and physical literacy to brain and body development of young children and how they directly affect learning and concentration. These endeavours yielded positive outcomes that inspired us more to keep going and weave these healthy practices in our daily routines.

Two years after, we moved forward to make a difference not only in the lives of the children and families that we have at our kindy. We deepened and broadened our understanding of Hauora and promoted well being and looked at the concept of hauora holistically and worked to extend this understanding by being more involved on a larger scale- Our Whangarei community.
We supported our learners' physical health and well-being by promoting healthy eating, regular active movement activities and local excursions. We celebrated different occasions with healthy food choices using local produce and lots of creativity ( watermelon cake, berry smoothies, etc). We fostered strong bonds with our whanau and community resources through centre and community wide celebrations that highlighted our diverse cultures and backgrounds. It provided us opportunities to celebrate this diversity and introduce the wider world to our learners through their palate.

The strong and continuous support that we receive from our whanau prompted us to establish a stronger community spirit. We looked at extending the support to look after the homeless people in our community through Soulfood Whangarei. Our regular healthy eating education turned into a monthly commitment to feed the people who do not have much and would most likely miss out on healthy meals to nourish them. The staff and the children worked together to prepare healthy meals from donated produce and other goods of our children’s whanau and other Beststart centres. Through the shared resources that we have gathered, we are able to share the gift of good health through healthy heart meals. We also get out and about to help the Cancer Society and Plunket through fundraisings while promoting healthy eating and active movement. Our partnership and regular visits to Parahaki resthome encouraged them to provide healthy food, drinks and treats to our children and their residents during our shared kai to support our Healthy Eating Food Policy.

All these initiatives helped each and one of us become healthy in mind, body and spirit. As our children become more involved in our community, their concept of fairness, social justice and whanaungatanga grow. They developed positive concept of themselves as capable, caring and compassionate individuals. It helped us, the adults around them to be more aware of our responsibilities as rolemodels to promote holistic health and well-being to our learners and to love and value our own well-being.

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi. With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive. Beststart Regent Kindy is thankful that we were given the opportunities to fill the basket of lives of our children, their whanau and the community around us with love and care through good health and wellbeing. It was a great journey to our gold award. But the more important treasure that we achieved is the wealth of good health and well-being, solidarity of the community and compassion for and with one another. That is gold!

Big first steps at the Cottage Kindergarten

The COttage LBH resized

The Cottage Kindergarten begins their journey!

Invercargill early learning service, The Cottage Kindergarten, has earnt a well-deserved bronze ‘Rito’ Healthy Heart Award from the Heart Foundation in recognition of its efforts towards creating a heart-healthy environment.

The Healthy Heart Award programme acknowledges and values the long-lasting healthy changes made by The Cottage Kindergarten. To achieve this award, the kindergarten updated their cooked lunches menu, introduced new snacks for morning and afternoon tea.

The also created opportunities for active play such as yoga, bush kindy and working in the vegetable garden, with a visit from Black Fern, Alena Saili, providing the children with a great active role model.

“Taking part in the Healthy Heart Award has enabled us to look at our menus and make some changes. The children are enjoying lots of new foods like sushi, and wraps. We have continued to offer lots of opportunities to learn about growing our own vegetables and incorporating lots of active movement in our programme. We are now working towards the gold level.” Says Mary Fensom, teacher.

Kate Stratford, Heart Foundation Nutrition Advisor, says she is thrilled to see the progress made by The Cottage Kindergarten.

“Establishing healthy habits in the early years provides children with a strong foundation for good health and well-being throughout their lives. The Cottage Kindergarten has done a great job taking these first steps towards creating a heart-healthy environment and are committed to continuing on their journey towards achieving a gold ‘Pā-Harakeke’ Healthy Heart Award in the future.”                                


In photo Jerome Ward (4), Mary Fensom, Lucas Warnock (4)