VIS experts advance Victorian students’ understanding of Sports Nutrition

When Lauren returned to campus in Point Cook last week, the Carranballac College Year 8 student was beyond excited to see her friends again and resume face-to-face learning. 

While the altered schedule of remote learning certainly had its challenges for Lauren, the evolution of virtual education also provided her with some unexpected opportunities, like advancing her knowledge in a subject she is highly passionate about; sports nutrition. 

An avid basketballer and footy player, Lauren was grateful to be invited by her teachers to join the Victorian Institute of Sport’s Advancement Series and hear directly from the dieticians who work with Victoria’s elite athletes. 

“I felt honoured that I got educated by the Victorian Institute of Sport first hand,” she said. 

“I prefer in-person conversations and I’ll be honest I was nervous to begin,” Lauren said. “Frankly I think the VIS presenter did a fantastic job at explaining everything. In a way, I got to experience a new way of remote learning.” 

Lauren has always been interested in eating right and she understands the importance of nutrition for her sports performance, growth and sleep. However, she struggled to find the right information. 

“The Nutrition Advancement session not only educated me but motivated me,” Lauren said. “I had an idea that nutrition played a part but I feel so confident now that I know what foods to eat.” 

Danielle Speranza, Health & PE teacher at Carranballac College, said that it was a great experience for the students as well as the staff involved. Speranza mentioned that it had been challenging to differentiate for the college’s high-ability students during remote learning. 

“The Victorian Institute of Sport Advancement Series was one of the ways we could really motivate our students whilst offsite,” Speranza explained. 

“The selected students benefitted immensely from being extended, this gave them an opportunity to further their knowledge and learning how it can be applied to an athlete’s program,” Speranza continued “the remote learning period has had its challenges, but this was super engaging and provided a spur of inspiration for all students and staff involved.” 

The Victorian Institute of Sport Advancement Series delivers nutrition and sport science education sessions to Government secondary schools. The sessions are delivered virtually by VIS sports dietitians and sport scientists who draw on their extensive experience and use real athlete stories, combined with a variety of practical activities to engage the students. 

The Victorian Institute of Sport Advancement Series is supported by the Victorian Government as part of the Department of Education and Training’s Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series (VCES) providing enrichment opportunities across the curriculum to extend high-ability students in Victorian government schools. 

The VCES is part of a set of key initiatives of the Victorian Government’s new $60.2 million Student Excellence Program. Minister for Education James Merlino announced in early October that more than 

3,500 high-ability Victorian students at government schools would participate in an educational extension program in term 4 to reach their full potential. 

“We are providing the programs needed to extend and support our high-ability students to excel. This will help schools cater to the educational needs of our brightest sparks and allow them to continue a lifelong love of learning,” Minister Merlino said. 

“Victorian families can be confident we are providing the best opportunities to stretch and extend high-ability students.” 

The Victorian Institute of Sport’s Advancement Series has been running since term 3 and program coordinator Cathryn Pruscino has been overwhelmed by the interest from schools; 

“Victorian teachers have jumped at the opportunity to engage their students in these specialised sessions, extending their understanding of nutrition and sport science and how they relate to health, wellbeing, exercise and performance.” 

“Term 4 offers a valuable opportunity for VCE Preparation programs, and a terrific option for End of Year programs for years 7-12.” 

Victorian Institute of Sport Advancement Series sessions are free for Victorian government schools and places for term 4 are booking out fast. 

Teachers can access more information and book sessions here.

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