Get to know your AOs: Zoe Herbert

Zoe Herbert, an Authorised Officer from the North West Regional team, talks with us about the importance of wellbeing and healthy lifestyle practices, and the positive outcomes for all children that can be achieved.

What is your role and where are you based?

I am a Field Officer in the North West Regional team, I am based in Armidale on Anaiwan Land.

What is your professional background?

I have had around 20 years’ experience in the Early Childhood Sector working in Long Day Care and Preschool, with some experience in OSHC services. I have been an Educational Leader and a Nominated Supervisor and hold a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood.

What are some wellbeing and healthy lifestyle practices you try to follow?

I have been doing CrossFit since 2014 and I have been a CrossFit coach for 2 years. I use My Fitness Pal to help keep track of my food and I love listening to sleep stories on the Calm app to help me get to sleep - so I am passionate about healthy lifestyles!

Education and care services work to promote wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle for all children. What are some of the best wellbeing and healthy lifestyle practices you have observed services embed?

We know that embedding healthy lifestyle practices from a young age, including healthy food choices and physical activity, supports children’s growth and development and also lays a good foundation for lifelong habits. Developing education and understanding of the families also plays a significant role in supporting the healthy eating and active lifestyles of children. Educators work in partnership with their families to promote both physical and mental wellbeing in children’s everyday routine.

I see more and more services using yoga during their rest and relaxation time, with the rise of screen time I feel this is a very beneficial practice to embed.

Other ways services deliver wellbeing and healthy lifestyle learning opportunities for children are:

  • Encouraging children to take part in physical activities that matches their interests and abilities
  • Talking regularly with children about the importance of physical activity, mental wellbeing and healthy eating
  • Offering a range of interactive healthy eating activities i.e. creating a vegetable garden and having cooking experiences etc.

What positive outcomes have you seen in children when services provide access to healthy eating, physical activity, wellbeing and comfort?

I have seen children’s understanding of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle grow more and more during my time in early childhood education. It has been great to see how providing children with opportunities to develop healthy habits has a wider impact, as learnings are shared with their families and it builds a strong foundation for each child’s future. I also feel that services that have minimal screen time for children see better engaged children while playing.

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