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Healthy kids . . . Heart Foundation nutrition adviser Rebecca Wilson (left), Barnardos Early Learning Centre manager Janine Presnall, chef Maryan Coleman and pupils Skyla Stannard-Dougherty (4, front left), Ada Edwards-Smith (4), Kipp Kennedy (4), Levi Odell (4), Noah Mallinson (4), Philippa Stenton (3), Anashae Meikle (4) and Rhys Cromwell with the centre's Healthy Heart Award. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Dedication to health eating and physical activity has earned Oamaru’s Barnardos Early Learning Centre a top Heart Foundation Award.

The centre has been part of the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Heart Award programme since 2013, and last week, it earned its first Pa-Harakeke award.

There are three award levels and Pa-Harakeke – the gold star award – is the highest.

The free programme, partially funded by the Ministry of Health and Well South Primary Health Network, helps early learning services create environments that promote healthy eating and physical activity to children and their families.

Barnardos updated its healthy eating and physical activity policies and now provides weekly nutrition education.

Centre manager Janine Presnall said she was proud to receive the award.

“At Barnardos, we have a shared goal to work as a team to help ensure healthy futures for our tamariki through physical activity and nutritional food.”

Children have also been involved in music and movement, balancing, and confidence courses.

Heart Foundation nutrition adviser Rebecca Wilson said the staff and children had worked hard to achieve the award.

“Barnardos staff have found some fun and exciting ways to teach their tamariki about eating healthily and being physically active. They have also done a great job making the menu nutritious and well balanced.”