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Students from Deakin University in Warrnambool are helping Port Fairy youngsters to learn how to grow, cook and prepare their own fresh food as part of a new partnership.
The University has joined forces with Port Fairy Consolidated School to help the school continue its involvement with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.
The program involves children learning how to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, seasonal food. It aims to set good examples and engage children's curiosity, energy and taste buds to provide positive food experiences that will form the basis of positive lifelong eating habits.
The school is in its third year of involvement with the program but its two years of funding ended in 2010. The new partnership with Deakin helps the school to secure enough volunteers to allow the program to continue. Six third-year students from the Bachelor of Education (Primary) course at the Deakin University Warrnambool Campus are working with pupils each week.
Lecturer in Science and Maths Education, Dr Sandra Herbert, said the new partnership provided benefits for the school and Deakin.
"It is an opportunity for Deakin to add value to the school experience and assist the pupils, and it also provides a good, school-based learning environment for our students," Dr Herbert said.
"Deakin students are involved in helping to run sessions in the gardens and kitchen and also help with the literacy side of the program," she added.
Port Fairy Consolidated School Teacher Kirstie Marwood said four volunteers were needed for each session. "It is a great program that develops life skills for our pupils. They get to learn gardening and kitchen skills and we hope it teaches them to take responsibility for their eating habits and that they can grow their own fresh food," she said.
Ms Marwood said the program needed to be self-sufficient after its two-year funding finished at the end of 2010. "It can only work with the help of volunteers. We mainly have parents and grandparents so it is great that the Deakin students are able to volunteer to help."
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Deakin student teachers are at Port Fairy Consolidated School on Tuesdays.
To arrange an interview or photos please contact Rick Bayne on 0418 140 489.