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Educazione Slow Food - educazione alimentare e del gusto

Wanda Chotomska Primary School, Poland

At the Wanda Chotomska Primary School situated in the small village of Kielczow in the south west of Poland, promoting a healthy lifestyle is part of the school’s approach towards successful learning. Now the European canteen project presents the opportunity to focus more specifically on the daily diets of their 466 students and how this can be improved through equipping children with knowledge about food and how it is produced, along with taste experiences, in order to make more informed choices about what they eat.

“More than ever our children need guidance to help them make healthy food choices. Many already have eating habits that are detrimental to their health. We don’t like to say to them what is good and what is bad but we try to point them in the right direction.” says Joanna Kowalczuk, Teacher at Wanda Chotomska Primary School.

The goals for the school are to prevent food related health problems in the future, to develop classroom food education activities, and to continue to offer a variety of nutritious and tasty foods whilst also encouraging children to try new foods.

A Local Menu

Each day children are served a hot lunch and a snack from their canteen which is situated on the school grounds and operated by an external company. As part of its initiatives to improve their food service, in September 2009, the school opened a new canteen - previously there was only a small shop selling nutritionally poor snacks - and soon after joined the European canteen project. Since the opening of the canteen, parents and the head cook have been directly responsible for making decisions about the menu, with the distance food travels, nutritional content and ease of management being priority factors. These choices are reflected in the impressive menu that contains 70% locally sourced ingredients, including fresh fruit, dairy, eggs, bread and meat.

Putting Health First

Already the school has run a number of projects and lessons on health and the environment including nutritional classes and projects such as “A Week for Health”, “I Don’t Drink, I Don’t Smoke and I Don’t Take Drugs”, and “Save Energy and Save the Planet”. For the school, the Slow Food in the canteen project is an opportunity to strengthen the teachers’ ability to foster a sense of well being and to introduce the students to food that not only tastes good but is also good for them.  With a very active circle of teachers, the school is forming partnerships with other schools in Poland who would also like to promote healthy eating in their schools.

A Strong EU Network

Developing a strong network throughout Europe by connecting schools so that they can benefit from each other’s experiences is an important aspect of the European canteen project. The Wanda Chotomska Primary School had already struck up a relationship with the Primo Levi school in Fossano, Italy, through “European Town-twinning”, a European integration program that aims to build relationships throughout Europe and encourage integration between EU countries.  This relationship has been able to broaden to include the school’s involvement in the European canteen project, giving Wanda Chotomska Primary School the opportunity to consult with organizers of an already successful project as well as allowing both schools to exchange ideas and strengthen the work they are doing.

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