EAT. Educate All the Time.
Educate All the Time is a set of ideas that aims to fundamentally reprogramme our perceptions of fresh food as a genuine positive benefit to our lives. Each idea builds upon the next to form an â€˜ecosystemâ€™ of ideas that inform our choices, hopefully without consciously thinking about it. An integrated approach to Jamie Oliverâ€™s OpenIDEO challenge illustrates that combining several ideas together within a consolidated framework leads to an exponentially magnified effect over acting upon ideas in isolation. Many, if not all of these ideas that have been presented or re-presented have little to no monetary cost, and are relatively easy to implement. Note: This is a non exhaustive list!
Understanding Time. Understanding where children divide and spend their time is crucial to planning out an Educate All the Time strategy. A typical school day for children is about 9am - 4pm, and then a few hours at home. Itâ€™s also worth bearing in mind children only attend school for about 195 days every year, meaning that ideas over holiday and weekend periods have to be introduced in a different way. For maximum impact, ideas should be introduced at the right time, and continuously so it simply becomes an integral part of a childâ€™s development. Many habits that form for life are often cultivated from, or even before childhood.
Educate Parents. An integrated education approach does not end with targeting children. Attitudes towards food and health are informed by choices made in the household just as much as schools. It is crucial for parents to share and nurture a positive association with healthy food alongside their children to gain the intended benefits.
Image Norman Rockwell
Start Early. Education for children can start before they are even born. Getting pregnant women to come together and learn about a healthy diet and lifestyle is crucial for a successful birth. A positive attitude will carry on into defining habits for their children before school even begins.
Image Wall Street Journal
Re-Educate Dinner Staff. Your biggest ally in food awareness is the staff who is serving children their food in the first place. Working with dinner staff, and where necessary, re-educating them first is an important step to making any healthy food awareness drive a reality.
Good Food is Convenient. A common misconception is that junk food is easier to prepare or is more cost effective to produce than a healthier counterpart. Resourcing or growing your own distribution chain in the form of edible garden takes advantage of the economies of abundance.
World Cup Week SCHOOL MENU Monday
Theme It. Tex Mex. World Cup. Medieval England Week. Adding variation and fun to a set menu during the week at school and at home makes a big difference in the way that children perceive healthy eating. Education extends beyond nutritional benefit; it also enriches the mind by playfully teaching us about different cultures, geographies and histories.
Cross Curriculum. This takes the idea of theming and education to itâ€™s a logical extreme - an embedded, integrated cross curriculum approach to learning where children are completely absorbed and are active participants in their learning. For example, Medieval England Week will allow kids to absorb themselves in middle age history - dressing up, building models and learning kinaesthetically the historical and geographical context of their learning. And if course, food plays a major part in human history. Therefore, make it fun by growing and cooking the same meals that people ate in the Middle Ages.
Re-Design the Cafe. Fact: People make better choices about their eating habits through skilful application of behavioural economics. Placing healthier snacks next to the till, packaging healthier food together to reduce times waiting in line or separating cash lanes for fizzy drinks and unhealthy snacks are just some of the many â€˜nudgesâ€™ that can be employed to encourage us to make better choices in our diet.
Join a club. Everyone likes to feel like they are part of something, especially children - all over the country the state is sponsoring cooking clubs using the schools kitchens. Finding leftover space to plant vegetables and starting a school gardening club is a great way for kids to learn about where their food comes from as they can see it grow before their very eyes.
Update Parents (I). The prevalence of online communication is a simple and effective way to update parents about their childâ€™s education. As part of an ongoing newsletter, choice recipes or a summary of what the children have learnt about nutrition that term will make sure that parents are encouraged to make healthier choices.
Make Food Fun. Buzz Lightyear™ Broccolli, X-Ray Vision Carrots, Amazing Asparagus. Associating healthy foods with fun is a great way to reprogramme to increase our desire to eat healthy foods. It also helps to explain why certain foods are healthy for particular things, instead of simply saying ‘eat this because it’s good for you’.
Apply The Law of the Few. Malcolm Gladwellâ€™s popular novel The Tipping Point attempts to understand the factors in creating or sustaining sociological change from crime rates to fashion. Utilising the Three Rules of Epidemics (our epidemic being changing attitudes towards healthy foods), the Law of the Few relies on Connectors (people who popularise ideas), Mavens (people who know a lot about stuff), and Salesmen (people who are able to make others agree with them). Encourage children to become Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen. http://www.gladwell.com/tippingpoint/index.html
Image Norman Rockwell
Tell Kids How Much They Love Broccolli. As machiavellian as itâ€™s sounds, this little bit of deception can go a long way into forming lifetime habits. Fooling your kids/ teenagers by telling them they like vegetables (even if they donâ€™t) triggers a false memory - odds are, they are more willing to eat healthy foods.
Image Nudge Blog
Involve Parents in Pricing. Entrusting children with responsibility extends to parents too. Schools have a responsibility to consult with parents in pricing their childrenâ€™s meals - an open dialogue and nurturing trust between the school and household works to the benefit of all.
Work with Role Models. Weekends and holidays are potential grey areas where positive healthy eating may lapse as kids are away from the classroom. Working with out of school clubs such as Saturday Football Clubs - getting kids to respond to role models teaching them team building and game skills can additionally benefit from a healthy dose of nutritional education too.
Join Communities. The popularity of community based food growing projects is exponentially rising. Chances are, there is a allotment sharing scheme, or edible garden, or food growing programme in your local community. Getting involved is a great way to educate kids, meet new people and have fun and reap the collective rewards.
Image The Guardian
Update Parents (II). PTAs or school open days are a great way to show parents how their children have actively participated in their own development regarding nutrition. Showing parents the vegetable garden from Gardening Club or whipping up some tasty samples from Cookery Club is a good way to supplement the updates from teaching staff.
Image Hull Council
Come Dine with Us (I). Getting children involved in the heart of the scheme is fundamental. Entrusting them with the responsibility of planning, sourcing, preparing and cooking fine meals (with adult supervision); and then inviting guests from parents to staff or the local community will utilise all of the childrenâ€™s developing cognitive and kinaesthetic skills.
Come Dine with Us (II). Cooking for your friends, family or your community need not stop at school, nor stop with children. A family version of Come Dine With Me with a top prize for winning families can make a good incentive to start getting involved in sourcing, preparing and cooking meals for others. When kids are actively engaging in organising their meals for themselves and others at school and at home, healthy eating becomes the default, not the exception.
http://openideo.com/open/how-might-we-give-children-the-knowledge-to-eatbetter/inspiration/involve-your-kids/ Image Norman Rockwell
Positive Association. Kids like free stuff. Who doesnâ€™t? The government currently gives out free fruit to infants. Free fruit should also be given to primary school kids too - round about the time when they have a fun afternoon at story time or something similar.
Image Maple-Leaf School
Advertise in Public Places. If we can advertise cars, we can advertise healthy eating. In an ideal world, local government working with supermarkets, transport and public institutions can drive a prominent campaign to raise awareness about healthy eating.
Image Demian Repucci, OpenIDEO
With thanks to the OpenIDEO community, some of whose ideas have been re-presented here. “Nobody is as smart as everybody.” - Kevin Kelly
Produced by Jordan J. Lloyd with Jan Marshall, Primary Inclusion Manager, Boreham Primary School, Essex, UK. IDIR, 2010.
http://www.idircatalog.net http://www.boreham.essex.sch.uk All images © respective sources
Educate All the Time is a set of ideas that aims to fundamentally reprogramme our perceptions of fresh food as a genuine positive benefit to...