Four Wexford pre-school facilities have received award and certification from the HSE as Healthy Ireland Pre-School Services.
Tir na Siamsa in Enniscorthy, Tots to Teens in Murrintown Community Childcare, Teach Spraoi of Taghmon, and Wolfe Tone Community Preschool of Wolfe Tone Villas achieved the award in the first three months of this year. All of these services have implemented the Healthy Ireland Smart Start programme which is a holistic health promotion programme for young kids.
In recognition of their success, Wexford County Childcare Committee held a recent celebratory event in Wexford library. The programme is built upon the government's Healthy Ireland Strategic Framework, which seeks to improve the health and well-being of the nation, beginning with Ireland's youngest citizens.
The programme is specifically designed for pre-school children aged between three and five years of age and encompasses all aspects of a healthy lifestyle: oral health, physical health, health and safety, emotional well-being and literacy, as well as nutrition and healthy eating.
The programme has been very positively received by pre-school providers, staff and parent with feedback showing that it has helped to enhance health awareness in children attending the services involved.
Denise Cormilla, CEO, National Childhood Network said: 'The preschool sector has such an important role to play in promoting our children's health and wellbeing and the Healthy Ireland Smart Start programme provides them with the information, training and resources to be able to do so very effectively. Through this Healthy Ireland initiative, the HSE equips more and more pre-schools around the country in a consistent, sustainable and efficient manner with many of the tools needed to nourish children's overall health and well-being.
'The programme delivers year on year - once staff are trained they can continue to deliver each year to new cohorts of children. The award is also an important signifier of the quality of health education a child will receive at a pre-school service and something parents should ask about when choosing a pre-school.'