Celebrating community bonds

An Ascot Vale Heights partnership between Ascot Vale Heights School and their community partners, Coles Moonee Valley and the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation is forming positive habits for life.

Ascot Vale Heights School is a special school for students with cognitive disability in Melbourne’s north-west. Their committed team of teachers and school community believe every student should be given the opportunity to be the best they can be, every day.

The school is part of the Flemington Education Plan, a coordinated approach to ensure every child and young person experiences a high-quality, seamless education that fosters positive health and wellbeing, a sense of belonging and community and the capacity to succeed from early childhood to adult pathways beyond secondary school. 

Forming positive habits for life

The popular kitchen and garden program, which sees students growing their own crops, harvesting, preparing and then sharing what they have made, is the heart of the school. 

Community partner, the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, provides a program that introduces high-quality food education to children during their early learning to help them form positive food habits for life. 

Coles Moonee Valley has provided $5000 to continue to run and develop the kitchen and garden program. The school has welcomed the Coles management team, Stephanie Alexander and foundation CEO Josephene Duffy to see the school’s successful program in action. 

The Coles partnership also provides Ascot Vale Heights students with the chance to work one day a week in its bakery. 

School principal Colin Schot said the opportunity provided students with ‘a space to learn skills they might not otherwise have the chance to gain.’ 

‘I know both the Coles team and the Moonee Valley community love seeing the students on the days they are in.’ Colin said. 

Future planning

In late May, Ascot Vale Heights students will welcome the senior executive team from Coles’ head office to work with them in the garden and the kitchen program and explore further partnership opportunities.

‘We are so excited by this partnership and the opportunity to provide our students with a number of work experience and structured workplace learning options to support their futures,’ Colin said. 

For more information on the Flemington Education Plan, refer to the Department’s website

Find out more

This year, Education Week celebrates the theme ‘Building Connections’. 

It is an opportunity for all primary and secondary schools, higher education, and early childhood services to showcase how they are building connections with the community around them. 

Education Week will run from 23-29 May.