WE’VE all heard of bringing the teacher an apple. But at Leichhardt State School, they do things the other way round. And Ipswich Rotary dynamo Peter McMahon is the guy who’s made a piece of community magic happen.
He was talking to a teacher at a local school when they mentioned to him that they had quite a few kids coming to school without having had a proper breakfast. So he decided to do something about that.
Teaming up with the YMCA, Rotary organised vouchers for schools to buy a box of fruit each week.
Thirteen schools now do it, including Leichhardt State School. Teacher aide at the school Anna McGreevy said that the YMCA had also organised a breakfast club five days a week at the school, and once a week the school buys a huge box of apples.
Ms McGreevy said that it had made a huge difference to the kids. Even when they brought other snacks in their lunchboxes, they still wanted the apples. She said, “They prefer them to any other snack.”
In fact, she finds herself swamped with requests for “some munch and crunch”. And allowing the kids access to the crunchsome fruits has benefits that aren’t immediately obvious. Ms McGreevy explained that some children with sensory issues would be distracted by the feel and crunch of apples. The time it takes to munch through a fruit would allow them to calm right down and refocus on their schoolwork.
Mr McMahon said he’d seen this in action. According to him, the apples are real “brain food”. Ms McGreevy allows children to have a fruit when they want. She said, “The kids know if they’re hungry they can have a piece of fruit.”