A wellbeing program that offers free breakfasts is helping to “nourish” students at a Melbourne Catholic primary school, while helping them to “flourish” in mental and physical development. Source: Melbourne Catholic.
CatholicCare Victoria and St Anthony of Padua Primary School in Melton South officially launched the Nourish and Flourish program at the school last month. With the goals of building thriving communities and disrupting disadvantage for local families in Melton South, the program offers three wellbeing programs—one being the breakfast club, which provides all students with a free meal in the morning, enabling opportunities for social connection and supporting mental and physical development.
“It has been estimated that one in five Victorian children arrive at school hungry, affecting their ability to learn and do their best,” CatholicCare Victoria chief Agnes Sheehan said at the launch.
St Anthony’s Primary School’s wellbeing team had also observed that children regularly started their school day without breakfast.
In 2019, nine St Anthony’s families participated in workshop with CatholicCare Victoria to discover opportunities to support children and families, particularly families doing it tough. The breakfast club was one of the ideas resulting from this workshop.
Running on two mornings each week, the club is now hosting about 260 children at each session, and the program runs parallel sessions of aerobics and sport to encourage student wellbeing.
“We believe that providing breakfast will also help improve children’s readiness to learn, engagement with their school, and concentration and memory in the classroom,” said Ruth Knight, manager strategic projects at CatholicCare Victoria.
A key principle of any school breakfast program is that it is free and available to all students at the school, to reduce stigma.
A café cooking program has also been developed by the school as part of the Nourish and Flourish program, and a community garden will also soon be established.
Nourish and Flourish program launches in Melton South (Melbourne Catholic)