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Nelson Street Girls’ encourages healthy habits

Getting children to adopt healthy habits continues in the new term at Nelson St Girls’ RC, Port of Spain, with the introduction of ‘Meatless Mondays’.

“It is because we realised even prior to the pandemic our children were not running and playing as they should, so many lifestyle diseases were cropping up…some diabetes, little things the parents were coming in and telling us,” a school official said in an interview August 22.

The children’s diet was having visible effects, for example the hyperactivity from too much sugar. The official said, “because of the diet it will be difficult for some children to concentrate in school”.

Three years ago, the school introduced ‘Water Wednesdays’ and ‘Fruit Fridays’. Water Wednesday became popular and the children reminded each other and teachers “don’t forget it’s water Wednesday”.

There has been a ripple effect in homes when children pass on knowledge, and teachers are on board with the health promotion initiatives to ensure they are exemplars.

The school official commented on the difference in childhood today compared with the past when there was more physical and outdoor activity. “Because of where they live, they do not play, it is not safe for them to be outside.”

The school has ‘afternoons of play’ when children and teachers left the classroom to play like ‘the ole time’ days. “Just having fun, [playing] moral, red light, these things, just to get them being active.”

Before the pandemic, the school partnered with a non-governmental organisation resulting in the Standard Four children being taught how to prepare tasty, vegetarian meals. Nelson Street Girls’ RC has a kitchen.

The Catholic News was told: “We are continuing that in the new term…we will be having people coming in during the new term to be teaching children of our various classes about making healthy vegetarian meals. We have two chefs lined up to get them excited.”

Five years ago, Nelson Street Girls’ RC initiated a ‘Daddy-Daughter’ cooking class once per month. Building on the Meatless Mondays, this class will focus on vegetarian dishes in the new term. The father of a student, a chef, will conduct the after-school classes.

The fathers and daughters will learn about dishes they can incorporate into their menus at home. The school official said, “they come, they cook, they are shown what to do…and they have their presentation and the tasting. It is always well subscribed.” The girls are happy to be doing an activity with their fathers.

The official said close contact with fathers is important for children with the state of today’s society. The ‘Daddy-Daughter Dance’ held in June was started six years ago. The cooking class was another idea for fathers to be involved. “We get the fathers to come; it is amazing. You see fathers of all walks of life coming, just happy to spend a little two hours in the afternoon with their daughter…and the girls will come and say, ‘we did this with daddy…we went home, and we tried it’.”


Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash