Westview Community School in Prince Albert been selected as one of 10 Saskatchewan schools that will each receive a $10,000 grant to support student nutrition after being selected to win this year’s Mosaic School Nutrition Challenge
According to Principal Cheryl Arcand, the school applied to enhance some of the programming that is already in place including being a Breakfast Club of Canada school.
“We are so fortunate that we are able to serve breakfast for our students every day and that helps them to get their day started in a great way and then this additional grant dollars will just enhance what we currently have and so much. It will be an amazing opportunity, it’s exciting actually,” Arcand said.
“It just builds on all of the good things that are happening here at the school,” she added.
The grant funding will centre around a reconciliation project and will allow them to develop hydroponic and compost programs and purchase a new dishwasher, cooler and freezer.
“It will just enhance what we have. The school was built in 2000 and so we will be looking at purchasing and updating some stoves, two stoves and adding an additional refrigerator, cooler and microwave to our kitchen and then new will be the composting system,” Arcand explained.
According to Arcand, kitchen staff already does baking and the composting will help enhance the garden boxes that are already in the school. Other things that they are looking into include growing towers in classrooms.
“ So then to be able to see firsthand just growing, planting, harvesting that growth of lettuce or strawberries we will be planting in those grow towers so that they can reap the rewards of it too. So they can share in some healthy food together and of course you hope that they will take all of that learning and that passion for growing your own healthy food and then try that at home too,” Arcand said.
As the project is planned into next year, they are also trying to incorporate traditional medicines in the school community with the help of a teacher who is a carpenter.
“We are just trying to wrap our minds around that what that will look like. We have four garden boxes in our Pre-K Kindergarten outdoor learning space so we are going to add to that as well with traditional medicines and wave garden boxes too to do that,” Arcand said.
The entire concept is also based around Truth and Reconciliation at the school.
“That’s helping us on our Truth and Reconciliation journey that we have in the school. It’s something that I know our staff and students will benefit from,” she said.
“You have to have a name for your project and that will ground it and give it that focus and our school is known as Westview Community School and then underneath that it is Kistahpinanik which is the meeting place. Then we added an additional layer to that so we called our Mosaic Nutrition Challenge we called it Pe micisok Kistapinahnihk which translates to You all come to eat at the meeting place,” she explained.
The grants will support winning projects that have goals including supporting reconciliation projects, enhancing kitchen and garden facilities, increasing educational opportunities for students and families and expanding nutrition programs. Schools from across the province submitted their projects to compete for the total of $100,000 in prizes, provided by Mosaic.
“We can’t wait to see what this year’s winning schools create with their funding for the next school year,” Sarah Fedorchuk, The Mosaic Company’s Vice President, Government and Public Affairs, North America said in a release.
“From gardens to cooking classes to breakfast programs, these 10 schools are providing healthier school environments that are sure to have a lasting impact on students and their schools, building on the program’s legacy that’s helped deliver better access to nutritious food in 70 Saskatchewan schools.”
Other schools receiving grants this year are part of Christ the Teacher, Good Spirit, Northern Lights, Prairie South, Regina Public, Saskatoon Public and South East Cornerstone school divisions.
To encourage grassroots initiatives to help improve student nutrition, this program, formerly known as the Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge, began in 2006.
“The 27 school boards in Saskatchewan are so grateful for Mosaic’s ongoing generosity and continued commitment to this program,” Dr. Shawn Davidson, president of the SSBA said in a release.
“We are so excited to see innovative ideas continue to come forward in this, the 15th year.”
Arcand said that the plans are tied to curriculum outcomes in the province and the school wants to thank all of the community partners associated with the Mosaic School Nutrition Challenge for this grant opportunity.
“We have all of the partners that make that our school. Our students are very appreciative it is just a wonderful surprise for sure,” Arcand said.