Holistic approach to food education for early childhood and basic education (KOKOAVA project)
Models and tools for food education in early childhood education and schools have been actively developed in Finland during the past few years. Holistic approach to food education for early childhood and basic education project aims to implement the developed models and tools for nationwide use in Finland. The Smart Family Food Education (Neuvokas perhe ruokakasvatus in Finnish) provides a model and tools for early education centres (ECE) and the Tasty School (Maistuva koulu in Finnish) for primary schools. The online service Current status of school and ECE meals and food education (Ruokailun ja ruokakasvatuksen nykytila in Finnish) is deployed as an evaluating tool and aid in the implementation and development of food education, both regionally and nationally.
To implement the food education models and tools, the project provides online training, newsletters and other educational and communication material to food educators and other personnel to help them to become familiar with them as well as the principles of holistic food education in general. Also, a multi-professional training course on food education (5 ECTS) is provided for early childhood education professionals and schoolteachers.
In addition, the project offers expert support to interested early education centres and primary schools for implementing food education in practice. The ultimate aim of the project is to encourage multi-professionally entire municipalities to develop food education activities by integrating food education into municipal structures and into municipalities’ curriculum planning and welfare reports and plans.
The KOKOAVA project is carried out in 2021—2023 as a collaborative project by the University of Eastern Finland, the Finnish Society for Food Education Ruukku and the Finnish Heart Association. The project is funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.