Image courtesy of Laurence Smith
Findings from a new Australian Government-funded independent evaluation have found our affiliate, The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, is providing a wealth of benefits to Australian school children.
More children are taking up cooking at home and starting backyard veggie gardens after participating in the national programme.
The findings have the potential to change the way educators view the benefits of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden National Program in Australian primary schools. The evaluation found real health behaviour change for children, families and school communities participating in the Program.
The Garden to Table trust will be releasing the findings of our two year study in June. Initial reporting has found similar results to those from this study of our Australian counterpart.
We hope our findings will assist us in securing the support of the Government here in New Zealand.
Key findings from the Australian evaluation include:
- 97% of teachers responded positively to how the Program supported classroom learning. They reported that students found the hands-on activities engaging and it aided learning across other subject areas, commenting that the Program ‘forms an intrinsic part of our students’ learning’.
- Students in Kitchen Garden National Program schools were more likely to report that they would always try new foods as compared to students in comparison schools. The proportion was higher if the students had grown or cooked the foods themselves.
- Participating students, staff and school communities all reported that the Kitchen Garden National Program had made positive impacts on the school and students.
- Teachers and parents reported improvements in students' social behaviours, with 86% of teachers reporting improvements in students' teamwork skills and 50% of parents reporting improvements across a range of student behaviours, including modifying previous bullying behaviour, managing difficult behaviour, interacting with people of many ages, leadership skill development and sense of pride in the school.
- More children are taking up cooking at home and starting backyard veggie gardens after participating in the Kitchen Garden National Program.
The independent evaluation was included 28 Kitchen Garden National Program Schools and 14 comparison schools form across Australia. The evaluation was funded by the Australian Government and conducted by the Centre for Health Service Development, Australian Health Services Research Institute, at the University of Wollongong.
Click here to view the final evalution report on the Centre for Health Service Development's website.