The Government of Alberta has launched a school nutrition pilot program in 14 school boards across the province to help prepare students for a healthy future.
The program is part of the Government of Alberta’s “Future Ready” initiative that co-ordinates training from kindergarten to work so all Albertans have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a changing economy.
“We know that good jobs begin with a good education. Access to a daily nutritious meal can really help children’s grades and prepare them for a healthy and successful future. That’s why we are proud to introduce a targeted school nutrition program.”
“It’s hard to learn when you’re hungry. Research clearly shows that students who have a healthy and nutritious diet have more energy and are able to better focus in class. While the immediate effect of the program will be felt in the classroom, we also want to build students’ capacity for lifelong healthy eating and nutrition.”
Alberta Education has identified 14 school boards to take part in the pilot, including 10 rural boards and four urban ones, based on greatest need as determined by socio-economic status data from Statistics Canada. Each school board has been asked to choose one K-6 school to participate in the pilot.
“We know healthy learners are productive learners. Our aim is to operate school environments that support a holistic approach to nutrition. This pilot program will provide students with access to healthy food choices, supporting our efforts to positively influence students’ health and well-being so they can reach their full potential.”
“We’ve seen first-hand the impact of school nutrition in the classroom, from better focus and improved grades to increased social skills and higher energy levels. We are excited to be working with St. Peter School to offer a daily school nutrition program and hope the pilot sets the groundwork for a permanent program in the coming years.”
Selected school boards must demonstrate how their program adheres to the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth and are required to include a nutrition education component as part of the pilot.
The cost of the program is being funded from Alberta Education’s existing budget. Each of the 14 publicly funded school boards will receive $250,000 in grant funding to assist with the pilot. Results will help inform decisions regarding nutrition programs for schools across the province in 2017-18.
School boards participating in nutrition pilot
- Calgary Board of Education
- Calgary Catholic School District
- Canadian Rockies Regional Division
- Edmonton Catholic Schools
- Edmonton Public Schools
- High Prairie School Division
- Holy Family Catholic Regional Division
- Livingstone Range School Division
- Medicine Hat School District
- Northern Lights School District
- Red Deer Public District
- St. Paul Regional School Division
- Westwind School Division
- Wetaskiwin Regional Division