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Proving it works
Just announced - Further proof the Program works
Findings of a new Australian Government-funded independent evaluation have the potential to change the way educators view the benefits of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden National Program in Australian primary schools. The evaluation found real health behaviour change for children, families and school communities participating in the Program.
The findings were announced by Federal Member for Chifley Ed Husic MP, Associate Professor Heather Yeatman from the Centre for Health Service Development at the University of Wollongong, Stephanie Alexander and Foundation CEO Ange Barry at Whalan PS on 6 March 2013. Read about the announcement and key findings here.
Click here to see the evaluation report on the Centre for Health Service Development's website.
Evaluating pleasurable food education
An evaluation of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program was undertaken between 2007-2009, by a joint research team from the Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing & Behavioural Sciences, Deakin University and the McCaughey Centre: VicHealth Centre for the Promotion of Mental Health and Community Wellbeing, University of Melbourne.
The findings are extremely positive and demonstrate that the Kitchen Garden Program is encouraging positive health behaviour change in participating children. The evaluation also highlights the transfer of benefits to the home and the broader community.
Aussie kids love their veggies!
Hear more about our impressive evaluation from
researcher Dr Lisa Gibbs and Stephanie Alexander
in this University of Melbourne video.
The evaluation found:
- Strong evidence of increased child willingness to try new foods.
- Garden and kitchen classes were greatly enjoyed by children, and children at Program schools were significantly more likely to report that they liked cooking ‘a lot’.
- Significant increases in child knowledge, confidence and skills in cooking and gardening.
- The Program was considered particularly effective at engaging ‘non-academic learners’ and children with challenging behaviours.
- The Program helped to create links between schools and the community. This was noted as one of its most important outcomes.
- Although the transfer of benefits to the home environment was not one of the goals of the Program, it strongly emerged as a flow-on benefit.
- Increased integration with the rest of the curriculum helped to overcome competing priorities for class time.
- Program schools on average generated $1.93 of additional resources for every $1 of government funding invested in the Program.
The 2½-year study tracked the progress of children participating in food education activities at both Kitchen Garden Schools (Donald, Foster, Sunshine North, Surfside, Westgarth, Yarrunga) and comparison schools (Castlemaine, Heatherhill, Melrose, Pinewood, Spensley Street, Tongala).
The evaluation was made possible by funding from supporters including Deakin University, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (Victoria), VicHealth, and the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust.