Editor’s note: International School Meal Day is March 6. To honor the day, Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, highlights how food is being recognized as crucial to health and well-being of the young and the role International School Meals Day will play. For more information on ISMD 2014, visit http://www.internationalschoolmealsday.com/
By Jackie Brock
We know that food is such an important part of children’s lives, providing nourishment for bodies as well as minds — it is well proven that children learn better when they have had a good meal and are not troubled by or distracted through hunger.
In Scotland, the commitment to extend free school meals to all children in Primary grades 1, 2 and 3 from January 2015 by our First Minister is significant in demonstrating the role food, nutrition and health has not just within our families and communities but also at a national level. Providing a high quality, healthy, and nutritious meal at least once a day during the school term is a welcome investment and first step towards to tackle hunger and poverty faced by far too many today.
And it does not stop there.
I am pleased to have also had the opportunity to sit on the advisory group for Better Eating, Better Learning, contributing to the new guidance soon to be published by the Scottish Government on school food. Refreshing the 2003 Hungry for Success work for a revitalised school meals service in Scotland, the new guidance will take forward a whole-school, whole-child approach by asking all those involved in education and the provision of school food to think about the value of food and food education in a number of contexts — spanning education and learning, health and wellbeing and tackling poverty and deprivation.
It is here that International School Meals Day will prove invaluable. Not only are we encouraging children to think about their own local dishes and where food comes from, but through ISMD children are being invited to tour the world with their palate, learning about different food, different cultures and different traditions.
We are delighted to be involved in this, the second annual International School Meals Day and would encourage schools not only here in Scotland but across the globe to get involved in any way they can. Through ISMD, I look forward to hearing the food stories from around the world, told through the eyes of our children.
Jackie Brock is Chief Executive of Children in Scotland. http://www.childreninscotland.org.uk/index.htm