Promoting healthy lifestyles

We've developed resources in consultation with the Ministry of Health to assist schools and early childhood education services to promote healthy lifestyles.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Teachers and Kaiako
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau

Healthy eating and learning

Research has shown that poor nutrition can be associated with lower academic achievement and poor school attendance.

Teachers report improvements in attendance, attention, behaviour, and levels of concentration in schools and early childhood education services where healthy eating has become accepted practice.

Becoming a water only school

We encourage all schools to become water only. This means making sure that water (and plain reduced fat milk) is the only drink in your school.

Schools that have moved to being water only have seen that it benefits teaching and learning as well as student health and wellbeing.

Visit the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) website for clear infographics that show the amount of sugar in drinks and promote water or low fat milk as the best drink.

Health Promotion Agency website(external link)

Use the following templates to formulate your own water-only policy to share with parents and caregivers.

Template for formulating your own water only policy [DOCX, 202 KB]

Māori medium template for formulating your own water only policy [DOCX, 53 KB]

Food and Nutrition for Healthy Confident Kids guidelines

These guidelines are designed to help early childhood education services, schools, and their communities develop environments that support healthy eating. They cover developing policies and procedures about food and drinks provided on site and promoting consistent messages about healthy eating.

Food and Nutrition for Healthy Confident Kids guidelines — TKI website(external link)

Food and Beverage Classification System (FBCS)

The Ministry of Health’s Food and Beverage Classification System is designed as a practical tool to support early childhood education services and schools in implementing the Ministry of Education’s Food and Nutrition for Healthy, Confident Kids guidelines.

The FBCS identifies recommended options for early childhood education services and schools wishing to provide, sell or promote healthy food and drink.

Ministry of Health website(external link)

Smoke-free schools and early learning centres 

Our smoke-free laws have been updated. Under the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 schools, kura, early learning services and kōhanga reo must be smoke free both indoors and out, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 You must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that no person vapes in any part of your school, whether inside or outside, at any time of day.

‘No Vaping’ signage must be displayed by 11 May 2021. ‘No Smoking and Vaping’ notices can be combined or on separate signage. Signage and stickers will be available for order through the Smokefree website(external link) in 2021.

You can use these resources to support, create or review your smoke-free policy. This will ensure your policy will align with requirements under the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and the National Administration Guideline (NAG) 5.

Vaping and schools – Health Promotion agency | Te Hiringa Hauora(external link)

Smokefree for schools tools and resources - Smokefree website(external link)

Other resources

Visit the TKI website for case studies from schools around New Zealand successfully working to improve nutrition, physical activity levels and general wellbeing.

Welcome to Health and Physical Education Online — TKI website(external link) 

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