Really Healthy Schools
The Skutečně Zdravá Skola program (SZS - Really Healthy Schools) is a whole-school-approach educational program, which allows sustainable food education to be integrated into the daily life of an entire school. Its aim is to create a healthy and sustainable food culture that values and enjoys food, as well as teaching children where their food comes from and how it is produced.
The Skutečně zdravá škola Award is an independent endorsement for schools that serve nutritious, fresh, sustainably sourced food and support pupils to eat well and enhance their learning with cooking, food growing and farm links. The award criteria cover the topics of food quality and its provenance, food leadership and food culture, food education and community involvement and partnership. Schools are able to work towards bronze, silver and gold awards. At silver and gold, schools are required to use a minimum of 5% responsibly sourced and 10% organic food.
Food for Life in the UK is a similar project that enable schools to improve their food culture.
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'Join a network of schools working on a planet-friendly programme to share success and multiply your efforts!'
How is the project linked to climate change & sustainability?
The program can form the basis for strategic changes in the development of sustainable forms of agricultural production and solutions for a healthy and sustainable food system of cities and regions. The program helps meet many of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and ideally fulfils the 'farm to fork' strategy, which is a central element of the Green Deal for Europe.
The SZS program also supports short supply chains by helping to create direct links between school (buyers) and producers (farmers) from the local region. This contributes to improving the nutritional value and quality of meals in school canteens, brings pupils closer to sources of food by visits to local farms, helps local farmers to stay economically viable and above all reduces food miles.
Who is involved?
SZS schools become inspiring centres of education for sustainability. Schools help children learn where food comes from and how it is grown or produced. They allow their students to understand the relationship between the food they eat and the world they live in. Children learn the basics of healthy eating habits and the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies necessary for a sustainable life. The success of the program is based on linking pupils' experiences from the school canteen to other areas of school life (e.g., healthy nutrition classes, cooking, gardening, farm visits etc.).
How are the participants involved?
Schools that participate in the Really Healthy School programme source food for their school canteens from local farmers, bakers and butchers, organise excursion for pupils to local farms, integrate food, agriculture and sustainability issues into the educational program, organise farmers' markets and community activities at the school, offer cooking courses for pupils and parents, grow their own fruit and vegetables in the school gardens and provide meals prepared from fresh seasonal ingredients. The SZS program empowers students to participate in the whole process of developing healthy and sustainable food culture. In doing so schools help them acquire the skills of change leaders and advocates for sustainable world.
The Really Healthy School project provides the following steps to participate in the programme:
1. Register your school for the programme
Once you have enrolled your school in the program, you will gain access to guidance, methodologies, procedures, and information to meet the criteria and implement the program in your school.
2. Create an Action Group on Healthy and Sustainable Eating at school
Success comes from inspiring leadership, so we recommend setting up an Action Group for Healthy and Sustainable Eating at the school. The Action Group works together to improve school eating levels and promotes education about food and the culture of healthy and sustainable eating throughout school life.
3. Create a Healthy and Sustainable Eating Plan
Identify challenges and opportunities for improvement in healthy and sustainable eating in school and create a Plan for their implementation. The plan should motivate the whole school to support and engage in the proposed activities.
4. Involve pupils and the school surroundings in the implementation of the Plan
The involvement of pupils and students within the Action Group plays an important role if we want the changes to be of a long-term nature.
5. Meet the criteria of the program with the help of our aids
Teachers are offered guidance and support - meeting the bronze, silver and gold criteria will improve your school meals, enrich your school's curriculum, and help your students acquire healthy habits for a healthy life.
6. Fill in the certificate request
Once you have met all the criteria for a bronze, silver or gold award, get in touch with one of our regional coordinators to help you complete the relevant application.
7. Celebrate your success
By meeting the criteria, you have managed to fundamentally improve the eating culture in your school. You have helped your pupils enjoy school lunch and enrich classroom education with hands-on education in the school garden, farm visits and cooking lessons. You've helped them acquire the skills of change advocates whose involvement can carry over to their families.
"With the Really Healthy School program I see a lot of links towards the school community. Everyone can see the changes in our food culture for which our school and the SZS program have been great inspiration, the stimulus. It is then great that the changes have an overlap into families, into the life of the larger school community. Thanks again for the SZŠ initiative, because it is just wonderful and helps us set the changes in our lives. Through the program, we succeed in realising the higher goal - and that is sustainable development."
Monika Kovalská, lead teacher, Kamarád Nové Veselí kindergarten