Education

Oral health a priority at Kialla Children’s Centre

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Kialla Children’s Centre has been awarded the Smiles 4 Miles Award, recognising its work improving the oral health of our youngest community members.

Smiles 4 Miles is an oral health promotion program for kindergarten aged children.

Developed by Dental Health Services Victoria, the program is implemented across the region in partnership with Goulburn Valley Health.

GV Health health promotion officer Lucy Stephens said the program was a great way to help children form habits to support healthy teeth and gums for life.

‘‘The program tries to improve oral health by looking at the three key messages of clean well, drink well and eat well,’’ she said.

Ms Stephens said the program was run in about 36 kindergartens, covering more than 1500 children across the Greater Shepparton and Strathbogie local government areas.

‘‘We work with the kinders to look at their policies and make sure they’re embedding it in the service,’’ she said.

‘‘We work with them to educate the educators and we also try to promote the local public dental service.’’

Ms Stephens has been involved with the program and Kialla Children’s Centre since 2017.

She said the centre had worked hard in the past year and had been recognised for their efforts on a state level, promoting their service.

Kialla Children’s Centre co-ordinator Nicole Short said the centre had implemented the program across all age levels, although a large focus was placed on the four-year-old kinder students.

Ms Short said the children had enjoyed the lessons and had embraced the program.

‘‘We think it’s a great initiative, it’s a great program and it certainly fits in with our curriculum,’’ she said.

Ms Short said the recognition would be an asset to current and future families.

‘‘It shows that we are committed to these kinds of programs and that we are going above and beyond,’’ she said.