Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson MSP is visiting Forth Valley Sensory Centre next week to learn about a pioneering healthy eating scheme.
After a successful summer pilot, children from across Falkirk will be invited to the Camelon centre throughout the school year.
Forth Environment Link and Forth Valley Sensory Centre have joined forces to create a Flavour School, backed by funding from Falkirk Council and the Central Scotland Green Network Fund.
A group of deaf children from Windsor Park School who attended over the summer holiday are already the school’s first graduates.
Emily Harvey of Forth Environment said: “We talked about different senses and flavours- why do some people like sour things and others sweet?
“We also looked at how food colour alters our perceptions of taste.
“For example the kids were convinced the plain yogurt they were eating was banana flavoured, despite the only addition being yellow food colouring.
“By the end of the classes we noticed changes in the variety of the food the children were eating, especially more fruit and veg.
“As well as helping to develop their palates, the classes also helped them to increase literacy relating to food.”
Jacquie Winning, Forth Valley Sensory Centre Manager said: “Encouraging children to eat healthily is incredibly important in helping lower instances of preventable sensory loss such as diabetic retinopathy, which can be caused by Type 2 diabetes.
“It is also important to educate young people about sensory loss. Encouraging understanding that not everyone sees or hears the world in the same way helps build a more tolerant society.”
The Falkirk project was inspired by the UK Flavour School, which helps schools and nurseries to “embed” sensory food education.
It inspires children to explore food with all their senses, as a foundation for “healthier, happier relationships with food”.
For further information visit www.flavourschool.org.uk