Improving community well-being and health through primary school learners

Project leadership team: Ms Gerda Gericke, Prof Una McIntyre, Dr Deborah Kupolati

A great benefit of school-based nutrition education is that it can increase the attention span of learners and improve their overall learning capacity. It can also contribute to lifelong healthy eating behaviour. However, this is not the case for many communities in South Africa. A critical barrier to creating healthy communities through better nutrition lay in unsuitable nutrition education strategies in the schools – both the methods and the materials teachers use to teach children about nutrition are inadequate.

Following engagement with the local community and teachers, Dr Mojisola Deborah Kupolati and her research supervisors, Ms Gerda Gericke and Professor Una MacIntyre, developed a new set of nutrition education materials - a teachers' manual, a picture book, learners' workbooks and posters for teachers to use in the Life Skills and Natural Sciences and Technology curriculum (Grade 5 and 6). They tested the use and uptake of the materials in schools in Bronkhorstspruit with the aim to instil healthy eating habits in primary school learners through a robust nutrition education curriculum. The project was indirectly able to help enrich the nutrition curriculum and also the skills and lives of the teachers, learners and indirectly that of the community.

- Author IFNuW

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