What parents say
Parnell Trust's Centres have been very pleased to have the enthusiastic involvement and participation of parents and whanau on our Green Kids journey. Parents' feedback details the positive impact our programme they see in their kids and their gratitude for the care we provide their children.
"My daughter Ariella started with the Parnell Community Trust Early Childhood Centre in Glanville Terrace in 2012. At the time, I was introduced to the Chef (Fern) who blew me away with the level of knowledge she had regarding food nutrition and preparation. Right from the beginning I was impressed with the centre's attitude towards food. A lot of consideration and planning has obviously gone into maintaining a balanced diet for the children throughout the day, and I like the creative ways they present healthy food.
I noticed a huge difference within my daughter's eating habits when she moved into the four year old (kindy room). Ariella and I have always tried to eat a healthy diet but suddenly she has started giving me ideas, for example adding sultanas or raisins to her rice bubbles in the morning (as that is what they do at kindy).
I can see how proud she is that she is having some influence into the meals that we have at home, and this will hopefully start to set her up for a life of healthy eating. There were times when she would flat out refuse to try certain foods at home (like cucumber), but then she was introduced to it at the centre. She observed the other children eating cucumber, she decided to try it and was suddenly a fan! She is still eating cucumber to this day!
I sometimes arrive at the centre and the chef will be preparing food with the children which they then eat at snack time. Ariella remembers some of the things the chef tells them about nutrition and again this helps to reinforce how important nutrition and healthy eating is to Ariella. She now can see that it is not just boring mum stating this importance but also the cool chef at the centre.
One day as we were walking out of the centre Ariella proudly showed off the tomatoes that were in the garden. She told me how all of her class had planted some tomato seeds and looked after them to grow. She was excited to tell me that they were now big and ready to eat straight from the garden! This was so great to see from my point of view as it encourages children even more to eat healthily as they are more inclined to eat something that they made! To me it also promotes an understanding into looking after and nurturing the environment and that there is a cycle within life.
Jumping Beans has been great for Ariella's physical activity and for confidence. She is able to try many different sorts of activities and do it within a safe environment so she has the confidence to try them! I also like how the centre will incorporate interests that children bring from home or encorporate what is happening nationally or internationally. One example of this is when the cricket season started the centre decided to introduce cricket as some children had been talking about this. Ariella has never tried cricket before so was super excited to come home and tell me about this! It is encouraging as a parent to know that when my child is at the centre she is part of an environment that is promoting nutritional values, physical activity and healthy eating as all of these are so important for their body, mind and spirit.
Thank you to everyone"
- Emily, daughter at Parnell Early Childhood Centre
"There is a lovely story in Joe's portfolio about the day when Jamie brought in cucumbers that he had grown in his garden at home. All of the children were able to celebrate Jamie's gardening success by inspecting the cucumbers, watching them get cut into pieces and enjoying eating them.
Also, I was really happy to hear that Joe's class had the opportunity to make sushi. He loves sushi and when I told Polly this, she decided to make it a class activity. It's wonderful that the teachers are motivated to try activities tailored to the children's interests and taste-buds!"
- Rachel, son at Gladstone Park Early Childhood Centre
"Flynn loves going to the centre every day. For me as a parent it's important that he's happy and healthy. At home we are very healthy in terms of food and we are glad he gets the same treatment at the centre. He's a very healthy boy and that is directly linked to how active he is during the day and the good "fuel" he gets every day from Fern.
I love that the centre takes pride in healthy eating and has events around it (e.g. 5+ a day). He also enjoys helping in the garden and watching the veggie garden grow."
- Jennifer, son at Parnell Early Childhood Centre
"Since the Gladstone Park Early Childhood Centre has introduced Charlotte, our four year old, to the healthy eating initiatives and garden to table, Charlotte takes the learnings home with her. She is definitely eating more fruit and vegetables (she often talks about Fredge and the 5+ a day programme) and is more open to trying new foods. She has also taken an active interest in the vegetables we grow at home, helping us water them and then eating them for dinner and lunch. We are very grateful for the good nutrition habits the Centre is teaching Charlotte on a daily basis as it helps reinforce what we teach her at home."
- Melinda, daughter at Gladstone Park Early Childhood Centre
"As a long term parent of the centre (since 2008), I can say that the work done over the last year has built rapidly on a really strong foundation. Over the last year the really strong focus on healthy eating and healthy living has come home to us on a daily basis. Sophie really loves being part of a healthy food culture. She loves it when we can take our own garden produce in to Fern to incorporate in centre meal times. This is reinforced when Fern takes the time to involve Sophie directly in preparing food for the children. For example, when we brought in extra tomatoes, Fern had Sophie help her prep them for snacks for the kids. Sophie was super proud to be part of this. It also encourages us as a family to share our own garden produce with our family at the Centre, and to realise the importance of sharing, as well as growing, healthy food."
- Caroline, daughter at Parnell Early Childhood Centre
"I have two children at Gladstone Park ECC and I have noticed some fantastic changes over the past year. The menu is great and my eldest always comments on his delicious and nutritious lunches... including making sushi! Yum. The new vege gardens and worm farm are fantastic as we do this at home also. I want my children to understand where food comes from... not just a supermarket. My children have also been learning about the importance of exercise, nutrition and benefits of a good diet. All of this sets them up for life!
The special 4 year old learning class, with a different learning theme each week, has been a success with my son. He really looks forward to it and I can see he is being prepared for school. The teachers have been great, catching up with me in the mornings and evenings with any concerns, comments or funny little stories.
I would highly recommend this center."
- Margaux, children at Gladstone Park Early Childhood Centre