THE Sant Jordi School near Palma, Mallorca, has received Spain’s national prize for educational development thanks to a healthy initiative set up by the school’s teachers.
One day a week, the infant and primary age schoolchildren are encouraged not to bring any meat to school in their lunchboxes as part of a project imaginatively called Un día sin carne (One Day without Meat). Teachers at the school have worked hard to educate the children – and their families – as to the benefits of a healthy and balanced diet.
Since last Easter, students have been encouraged to exclude meat from their morning snack once a week, and although the scheme is voluntary, an estimated 80 to 90 per cent of children are taking part in the initiative.
What is more, on Monday the Día de la fruta (Fruit Day) encourages the children to snack only on fruit during breaktime, and Friday sees pastries on sale in the school, meaning that many children avoid eating meat three times during the week.
Before the food programme began, the children and their parents were educated on both the economic and health benefits of limited meat consumption. For one thing, 20,000 litres of water are needed to produce a kilo of meat, whilst a kilo of grain only needs 1,000 litres.
The scheme has also been designed to teach the children the value of a healthy and balanced diet, and to raise social concerns such as mass production and factory farming.
The idea has spread to include all aspects of education at the school. History lessons teach the history of agricultural production, and the children are also given cooking lessons on how to prepare healthy treats.
Speaking to the Diario de Mallorca, teacher Fidela Sánchez said: “The idea caught on quickly. Many families in Sant Jordi have links to the farming community, or have an allotment, and so are receptive to these issues.”
Sánchez went to Madrid last Monday with Miquela Vidal, another teacher at the school, to accept the prize on behalf of the Sant Jordi School.