17 September 2018

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Vincent and Heatley State School students graduate Tucka-Time program

Students at Vincent and Heatley State Schools are graduating from a 10 week nutrition and healthy lifestyle program called Tucka-Time this week.  These students have been learning about healthy food choices and developing new skills in the kitchen, preparing and cooking meals during cooking classes facilitated by health workers from the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service (TAIHS).

In addition to learning practical cooking skills, the students also tour their local Woolworths supermarkets, who support the program with sponsorship.  They also attend information sessions delivered by a dietitian and psychologist, who speak to students about nutrition and social and emotional wellbeing.

Developed by the Centre for Rural & Regional Indigenous Health (CRRIH – previously CQRAICCHO) in Central Queensland, Tucka-Time is being delivered into these Townsville schools by TAIHS staff members, who have completed training to act as Local Facilitators of the program and are responsible for the on-the-ground coordination and delivery of Tucka-Time sessions each week.

For Heatley State School, this is their first round of the program.  Principal, Louise Wilkinson, hopes Tucka‑Time will increase student’s knowledge about nutrition and healthy eating and provide them with the skills needed to prepare and cook food for themselves and their families.  She also hopes that students come to understand the link between good physical and mental health and “that having a healthy body usually also means a healthy mind”.

Vincent State School, who are running their second round of Tucka-Time can vouch for the success of the program.  Damien Tillack, the Principal commented that “the children really enjoyed the program last year and gave the whole school some bounce.”  

Parents have also been very impressed, noting that their children are now keen to help prepare and cook dinner at home.  As one mum noted about her son, "He absolutely loved Tucka-Time, he spoke about it all the time.  He even made the quiche for his Grandmother's church group."

The Chairperson of TAIHS, Morris Cloudy, believes that the Tucka-Time program also offers additional benefits to participating families.  “This program provides an opportunity for students and their families to connect to a range of health professionals and other supports within the Townsville community, with the support of our staff who are facilitating these sessions.”

Melena McKeown, Manager Health Access and Planning at CRRIH is delighted by the take up of schools for the Tucka-Time program.  “To know that there is a range of schools in regional and rural Queensland who are embracing, learning and experiencing life changing education is very rewarding.   To have the program introduced into a second Townsville School underlines for our organisation, the relevance of the program and what it can contribute to the young people in our communities”, she said.   “The TAIHS staff are doing a wonderful job in Townsville, teaching the children about healthy food choices and how to cook simple recipes they can share with their families.”

The rollout of the Tucka-Time program in six Queensland schools is being funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health over a three year period.

Media representatives are invited to attend the final Tucka-Time cooking session at Vincent and/or Heatley State School this week and speak with the Tucka-Time coordinators as per the following session times:

  • Date: Wednesday 19 September 2018
  • Location:            Vincent State School – please report to school reception upon arrival
  • Address: 280 Palmerston Street, Vincent
  • Time: 9am-11am


  • Date: Thursday 20 September 2018
  • Location:            Heatley State School – please report to school reception upon arrival
  • Address: 410 Fulham Road, Heatley
  • Time: 1.30pm-3pm

Opportunities will be provided to film/photograph the children cooking.

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