Brushing up on dairy in the classroom

Dairy education program Picasso cows expanded

ADF News
EXCITEMENT: The arrival of a life-size fibreglass cow into schools generates excitement as children get to learn about the nutritional benefits of dairy foods.

EXCITEMENT: The arrival of a life-size fibreglass cow into schools generates excitement as children get to learn about the nutritional benefits of dairy foods.

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Popular dairy education program Picasso Cows has been given a new look and a revamped digital platform, allowing it to reach more schools, as it educates students about the $13 billion Australian dairy industry and how milk goes from the farm to the fridge.

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Popular dairy education program Picasso Cows has been given a new look and a revamped digital platform, allowing it to reach more schools, as it educates students about the $13 billion Australian dairy industry and how milk goes from the farm to the fridge.

Launched in term two, more than 70 schools across Australia are channelling their inner Picasso and immersing themselves in learning about the dairy industry.

Dairy Australia's schools program manager Vanessa Forrest said the response to the relaunch of the program had been positive, with schools jumping on board after a two-year program hiatus.

"The fact that the program has been taken up so enthusiastically by schools for over 10 years is a testament to the benefits of the program and how much both students and teachers get out of it," she said.

"The arrival of a life-size fibreglass cow into schools always generates so much excitement, and this year's group of participating schools have planned a full term of dairy discovery activities including farm visits, skype calls with farmers and factory tours.

"These are just a few ways the program connects students directly with farmers and other industry experts to learn more about the farm to plate process and dairy's health benefit."

Since it was launched in 2007, Picasso Cows has reached more than 1000 Australian primary schools and Dairy Australia is aiming to roll out the program to an extra 170 schools a year.

The redeveloped program is being introduced into 250 schools annually, in consultation with teachers and education consultants, and includes online tools and resources that are part of the curriculum units, Farm to Plate and Health and Nutrition.

Ms Forrest said the program was booked out every year, so it was good to be able to meet the demand, with a redeveloped program that delivered cost savings, allowing more schools to join the program.

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The program has already generated media interest, securing mainstream television coverage on Channel Ten Melbourne's First at Five News weather cross, with students from Knox Gardens Primary School in Wantirna South, Vic, a podcast on national education news website Education News, as well as local news publications.

According to Dairy Australia dietitian Glenys Zucco, Picasso Cows provided an opportunity for students to learn the health benefits of dairy at a young age, to help ensure they eat a nutritionally balanced diet essential for growing bodies.

"With many children increasingly growing up in urban areas, they often don't know where their food comes from, and Picasso Cows is a great opportunity to educate the next generation," Ms Zucco said.

Registrations are now welcome from schools interested in participating in Term 3.

Teachers can register to join thousands of schools who have enjoyed the Picasso Cows program by visiting the online hub www.dairy.edu.au/discoverdairy at Dairy Australia's Discover Dairy website.

This story first appeared on Australian Dairyfarmer

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