FIVE years ago Golden Square Kindergarten took children's oral health into its own hands.
Kids were coming to kinder with cavities and other dental programs. So the kinder started a Smiles 4 Miles program of healthy eating and healthy learning.
Dental Health Services Victoria recognised the kindergarten's work to improve oral health, awarding it a Smiles 4 Miles award this week.
Manager Carol O'Bree said children coming in with dental problems led the kindergarten to teach them about healthy eating, and a reduction of sugar in their diets.
"Bendigo has a really high obesity rate and we knew that our children were beginning to find that they weren't being healthy," Ms O'Bree said.
"We could see the cavities, we could see what was going on with the children.
"We saw their lunchboxes coming through with a lot of packaged food... it was definitely something we thought we could do to improve children's outcomes for the future."
Kindergarten teachers at Golden Square talk to children about healthy eating, grow vegetables and do health cooking. And staff will often pop healthy recipes in the newsletter.
Instead of birthday cake the kindergarten celebrates children's birthdays in a different way.
Ms O'Bree said children took the message home and talked with their families about healthy eating. She said running a program at kinder meant children would hopefully make healthy choices into the future.
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