Water Friendly Schools

Introducing Water Friendly Schools

The North East Healthy Drinks Alliance is encouraging schools across Banyule, Darebin and Nillumbik to become ‘Water Friendly’ by promoting water as the preferred drink for children and young people. 

School leaders are ideally placed to encourage the development of lifelong  preferences that will help students grow into healthy adults. Schools are also important role models for local communities, with an influence that reaches beyond the school gates. 

Why should our school become Water Friendly?

There are many benefits of choosing water as the main choice of hydration in the younger years, including: 

  • improved concentration and learning;
  • good dental health; and
  • cost savings.

How to become a Water Friendly school

There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to being Water Friendly. However, there are many useful strategies that can be tailored to the culture and goals of your school.

Scroll down to see tips and resources to support your school to become ‘Water Friendly.’

Water Friendly school ideas

Leadership, commitment and culture

  • Gain support from your school’s leadership, board and broader community to commit to being a Water Friendly school.
  • Have healthy drinks policy in place that is communicated and reviewed regularly
  • Do not allow sponsorship, advertising or marketing of sugary drinks on your premises, at events and in school sporting activities.
  • Promote tap water as the preferred drink option e.g. in lesson plans, newsletters, meetings and assemblies.
  • Implement a whole-of-school challenge e.g.  drinking tap water for one month.
  • Ask your school leaders to model healthy drinks behaviours. e.g. be ‘sweet drink free’ for a week. Publicise throughout the school community, and encourage other staff, administrators and students to do the same.
  • Permit students to drink water at any time, and to bring water bottles into the classroom.

Healthy physical environment

  • Consider ways to improve student and staff access to free water, e.g. water coolers, water fountains.
  • Review school canteen menus and try to remove any sugary soft drinks, fruit drinks or sports drinks and introduce healthier options. You can use the traffic light system to help you.
  • Ensure healthy drink options are available and promoted on premises and at events, e.g. vending machines, canteens, fundraising and catering.

Child teaching and learning and supported staff

  • Ensure teachers and staff have access to curriculum resources (see resource list below).
  • Schools may like to participate in the VicHealth H3O Challenge by creating a staff team.
  • Spread the word about the health effects of regular sugary drink consumption: Use this PowerPoint presentation to raise awareness among staff

Family and community partnerships

School and teacher resources

There are a range of resources available to support schools:

North East Healthy Communities acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional custodians of the land we work on. We pay our respects to their Elders both past and present and acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first people of this nation.