AAPS Updates

MDCH grant provides lessons in healthy eating, exercise for summer school students

Chartwells Director Heather Holland lets students pick ingredients during a smoothie-making demonstration at the Summer Learning Institute July 25, 2013.

Chartwells Director Heather Holland lets students pick ingredients during a smoothie-making demonstration at the Summer Learning Institute July 25, 2013.

By Tara Cavanaugh

One way to get kids excited about eating their vegetables? Give them a blender.

Students attending the district’s Summer Learning Institute are learning firsthand the fun of smoothie-making (with adult supervision, of course).

The smoothie lesson is part of the new camp called CATCH, Coordinated Approaches to Child Health, which is funded by the $100,000 grant the Michigan Department of Community Health gave to Rec&Ed last fall. The generous grant has already covered a winter basketball program and the new Obstacle Dash.

The CATCH camp provides nutrition lessons, healthy snacks, physical activities and field trips after the morning SLI classes are done.

The smoothie demos, courtesy of Chartwells staff, are part of the CATCH nutrition lessons. On July 25 three classes of incoming first graders learned fast and easy ways to make healthy smoothies with a variety of ingredients, such as kale, strawberries and even chocolate chips.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” said Patty Guck, assistant director at Chartwells. “The kids see that it’s really easy, and that they can do this at home.”

Chartwells smoothie demonstration

Chartwells Assistant Director Patty Guck shows students how kale can taste good in a smoothie.

As Guck led students through the smoothie-making process, allowing students to add ingredients to the blender, she reminded them that the smoothie can be poured into ice cube trays and frozen so that it is enjoyable later in the week.

“We’ve been trying to find every way we can to introduce kids to the fact that fruits and vegetables are fun and you can do a lot of things with them,” Guck said.

“The kids are excited because the smoothies taste good. I’m excited because they ate green things!” said Michelle Seals, a kindergarten teacher who is also teaching at SLI this summer.

“The power of hands-on activities such as this not only impacts their literacy and their math skills but healthy living skills,” Seals added. “And that’s the secret to education: we’re educating the whole child.”

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