A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to don a footy jumper and kick a football with professional women footy players - who just happened to be teachers in our government schools.
For me, as a Dad and as Education Minister, it was a great moment. Here were amazing role models showing my daughters (and my son), and all the girls (and boys) across Victoria who dreamed of playing footy, that with hard work and determination they too could achieve their goals.
Also, recently I attended the School Sports Awards and cycled with my kids to school for Ride to School Day. Each of these events was firstly a great opportunity to get out and about, to hear wonderful stories of hard work and resilience, and to see Victoria’s kids in action, but they also gave me the opportunity to talk about the importance this Government is placing on our kids being healthy and active.
We all know that having an active lifestyle is important - for our health, our wellbeing and our success. And this Government recognises this. As part of our plans to build Victoria as the Education State, we have included physical activity targets.
We want our kids to be physically active; but we also want them to be happy and engaged and ready to learn. We are therefore also putting in place a range of initiatives that support schools and families - from breakfast clubs to make sure children have a healthy start to the day, to kitchen gardens where our young people (and sometimes their parents) can learn about healthy eating.
We are also establishing a program of Doctors in Secondary Schools, as well as introducing the teaching of respectful relationships so every student can feel safe and confident.
Later this month (from May 21 – 27), we will be celebrating Education Week. The theme for this year’s celebration (the 73rd time we have marked this event) is ‘Healthy Mind, Healthy Body’. Many schools and early childhood centres will take the opportunity to open their doors to their communities and to showcase the ways in which they are promoting and teaching students to be active, happy and resilient.
I encourage all students, parents, teachers and schools to get involved with this year’s Education Week events and celebrate the supportive and inclusive work happening across our schools.
Speak to your school about what it has planned, and for details of events in your area, see:
The Hon. James Merlino MP
Minister for Education