With the ‘Samen in Noord’ teaching programme, Winclove Probiotics and ARTIS-Micropia are inspiring primary schoolchildren to live more actively and healthy. The programme’s core: health and nutrition in relation to your own microbiome; the trillions of bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and fungi that every person carries with them.
‘Samen in Noord’ targets 8- to 12-year-olds in the primary schools of Amsterdam Noord. The programme starts in September and runs for two years. Participating schools first receive classroom instruction from a Winclove education specialist who explains the microbiome and the importance of healthy intestines. The children then go to Micropia where the world of micro-organisms is revealed.
Curious and keen
Pupils from 8 to 10 years old at de Biënkorf school were the first to do the programme. Winclove education specialist Gizem Yikilmaz on the lessons: ‘Did you know that your poop can tell you really a lot about the health of your intestines? So it’s extremely important to look down after going to the toilet. During the lessons I noticed that many kids already do that. And adults can learn a lot from this!’
Jasper Buikx, the head of Micropia was impressed by the children’s curiosity, remarking, ‘The kids asked very relevant questions. Why are there microbes in your guts? Do we all have the same microbes? And why should I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables?’
Getting to know your own microbes
Many people still know little about microbes and the impact of their own microbes on health, or about how important healthy eating habits and more exercise are for a healthy microbiome. Winclove Probiotics and Micropia want to help children make healthy choices and are aiming at this demographic in their own area: Amsterdam Noord.
With this teaching programme that among other things brings research, commerce, and education together interactively, the partners are contributing to the district’s socio-economic development. In addition to ‘Samen in Noord’, other joint projects such as scientific conferences and public events concerning the microbiome are in the pipeline. Through such action an ever-wider target group is becoming conscious of its own ecosystem and learning to nurture its microbiome.