Second Graders are Inspired to Live a Healthy Life

Sep 2, 2015 | Impact, Lower School News, Multiplier

Mount Vernon’s second grade faculty members are sharing a powerful learning experience.
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By encouraging students to make healthier choices and then connecting those choices with how the brain performs, they’re learning how healthier foods and exercise impact their lives now and into the future.
The idea behind the experience originated late last spring. Second Grade Learning Coach Jake Thompson explains, “The idea to create this unit, was inspired while Melissa Rothbard (Grade 2 teacher) and I were in the lunch room. We started noticing our students’ lunch choices, and we realized many children were walking away from the food line with one type of food on their plates. Often times those foods were carbs like pretzels, bread, rice, crackers, or bagels.”
Not wasting any time, the Second Grade Team kicked off the wellness learning experience the first week of school. Through discovery, second graders started learning about the impact of exercise, the types of foods with high sugar and/or carbohydrate content, and why it is important to make wiser choices at meal times. Drawing on the expertise of outside experts and Experts in Residence, Mount Vernon families well-versed in the areas of health and wellness, students began going deeper into their study of wellness.
So far students have worked with Lauren Zimet, who works with Early Insights, and who teachers say has been the key to the success of the wellness unit. Lauren has assisted teachers with the curriculum content while encouraging students to be powerful agents of their learning. Mount Vernon parents are also making an impact  — Jocelyn McCarthy has taught students kickboxing techniques, Jennifer Rego as a Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta nurse has shared her knowledge of health and wellness from a medical perspective, and our own Scott Cain, Mount Vernon’s Assistant Athletic Director and Physical Education Coordinator has led students through aerobics. Additionally, Rothbard, who has always been interested in yoga and well-being, leads her students through yoga during the school day.  Says Jake Thompson, “Not only are these individuals partnering with us during this current unit, but they want to continue nurturing and extending the relationship throughout the year.”
And as result of their learning, students are going home and having discussions at the family dinner table. “Our little people are influencing their families by questioning the food choices they are making at home and having thoughtful conversations surrounding the nutritional value of the foods they are eating,” shares Jake.
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