How Eat Them To Defeat Them Got Our School Eating More Veg

Jemma Shillito

Jemma is a Year 1 Class Teacher and Modern Foreign Languages Subject Leader at Stanah Primary School, Lancashire. She is responsible for the Stanah School Council, who have been involved in implementing ‘Eat Them To Defeat Them’ across the school.

We kicked off our school ‘Eat Them to Defeat Them’ campaign at Stanah Primary with a launch day: we had a whole school assembly and shared out the many resources, and watched the excitement grow over the poster competition. We launched our ‘Carrot Week’ for the Veg of the Week part of the campaign and integrated it into our school through everything from school displays to Spanish lessons.

Our amazing School Council came up with some exciting ways to support the campaign in the school, including a ‘Donate-a-Veg’ box to gather veggies for our many veg-themed activities, and a ‘Carrot Hunt’ competition to spot the sneaky carrots hidden throughout the school!

We reflected as a school on our successful ‘Eat Them to Defeat Them’ involvement from the previous year, sharing the new veg we tried and whether we still enjoyed them. It was great to see the stickers awarded at lunchtime for the children willing to try new veg each week, still working as such a great incentive for them. Our KS1 children loved the ‘cut out and create’ vegetable pictures, and we set up a ‘Taste Table Thursday,’ thanks to our school cook and her staff, who created inspiring tables for the children each week to encourage them to try the Veg of the Week. These amazing displays even won us a nomination for the ETTDT Caterer’s Award!

But by far our most successful and original venture for the ETTDT campaign was the ‘Veg Shed’. Each lunch time, our School Councillors set up veg-themed activities for children to participate in, including:

  • Adding fingerprints to the picture of their favourite vegetable
  • ‘Guess the Weight’ of the vegetable
  • Veg of the Week based activities such as sharing favourite broccoli recipes
  • ‘Design a Dish for our School Menu’ competition
  • Veg-themed art activities such as using chalk to draw their favourite vegetables on the playground
  • Designing veg-themed badges (a prize for the winners of the Carrot Hunt)

The ‘Veg Shed’ was so popular that we actually had to expand the area it was set up in!

Our School Council kept wowing us with their original ideas like holding a ‘Dress in the Colour of Your Favourite Vegetable Day’, which involved a whole school assembly, announcing winners of some of the competitions and even inviting our local newspaper to take photos of the day!

We tried to integrate the ETTDT campaign into lessons where possible: in Spanish, we discussed what the Veg of the Week looked, felt, smelt and tasted like in Spanish, and so much more; in Maths, we measured carrots, halved and quartered vegetables and even set up a Vegetable Shop to support the learning of money management; in English, we used the book ‘Supertato’ by Paul Linnet and Sue Hendra, and used vegetable themes to create and describe settings.

All of these activities were recorded and displayed on our ETTDT display board, and we shared them with parents and carers, whose response was fantastic, inciting comments such as: “Music to my ears, I love this campaign”, and “Can’t actually believe it. Teddy ate a carrot today!”

Despite lockdown shutting down the school, we kept Veg of the Week going through online learning at home, encouraging children to send in photos of themselves eating tomatoes and getting stickers sent in response, and a Pepper Challenge that took the form of a TV show entitled Veg TV. We saw puppet shows, a pepper relay, a ‘popstar’ pepper and so much more!

Our children were fully engaged in the ETTDT campaign, both in 2019 and 2020, not just in school, but even taking their enthusiasm home, too!

It is wonderful to see our children’s enthusiasm for Eat Them To Defeat Them and we look forward to supporting the campaign again in 2021.

About the author

Jemma Shillito

Jemma is a Year 1 Class Teacher and Modern Foreign Languages Subject Leader at Stanah Primary School, Lancashire. She is responsible for the Stanah School Council, who have been involved in implementing ‘Eat Them To Defeat Them’ across the school.

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