How did it start? World School Milk Day is celebrated on the last Wednesday in September. This date was chosen because schools were open in all the countries surveyed during this month. The end of the month was selected to allow countries in the Western hemisphere sufficient time to prepare for this day, as in most of these countries the school year starts in early September. Wednesday was chosen as it was a school day in all countries surveyed.
The 1st World School Milk Day was held in 2000 and it has since become an annual event Every last Wednesday in September, over 30 countries - regardless of whether they are large or small, rich or poor - celebrate World School Milk Day, demonstrating that the interest in school milk is universal.
This year World School Milk Day was celebrated on Wednesday 26 September 2007.
The goal of World School Milk Day is to provide a particular day when attention is focused on this issue and thereby promote such programmes. Importance is lent to the event by the fact that other countries are doing the same thing, on the same day.
How is World School Milk Day celebrated? World School Milk Day is an "open" day - people are free to celebrate how they wish. Celebrations can be at any level - from national or regional events to individual schools. Some countries have started in a small way and have organised bigger celebrations with each passing year. Big or small, all have a common goal: to draw attention to school milk and thereby promote its consumption.
Celebrations of past years showed how creative people are in celebrating World School Milk Day. In almost all countries celebrating the Day, free milk is distributed to children in schools. Other activities include sporting events, distribution of educational and promotional material and celebrity visits to schools; also drawing and art competitions are very popular. Often dairy companies act as sponsors of the Day and provide not only free milk but also promotional material such as t-shirts, caps, pens, posters, etc. for the children.
Some of this year's activity
Claire Doyle, our Scottish facilitator visited four different schools with Charlotte the cow, the project's mascot, joining in the salsa dancing with children from Dykehead Primary School. The school started a milk scheme last year.
Dairy Farmers of Britain provided Hampshire facilitator Sharon Long with free milk to take to Waite End Primary in Waterlooville. The children also received booklets and stickers as well as posters and milk-shake recipes.
St Mary's CE Primary in Bentworth also celebrated with a special assembly - a copy of the project's 'Story of Milk' booklet was given to every child. The school already takes advantage of the Under 5s free milk but wants to extend milk to the rest of the school also.
Jill Middleton in the Midlands also led a special assembly. The school she visited is hoping to introduce a pupil-led healthy tuck shop with milk on sale every day.
In advance of the big day, the School Milk Project was particularly busy in Wales, liaising with Welsh Healthy Schools coordinators with a mailout of bi-lingual resources across the whole of the country.
In creating awareness of World School Milk Day we have had an additional 46 schools contact us over the past week who want to continue to promote milk drinking across the whole school - which is great news.
For advice and information on how to set up a scheme please refer to information provided on this site or give us a call on 0870 241 2693