Building student involvement, fostering civic engagement and enhancing community service to advance public health. 

On Friday, Tufts Medical Center dietetic interns Kathryn Wilson and Sophia Ding, who are currently completing a rotation at TUSDM as part of their training, spent the day in JQES’ kindergarten classrooms giving lessons on nutrition. The lessons focused on nutrition for overall health, but also tied in elements of how nutrition affects oral health. They began the lessons by reading a story about the food groups: fruit, vegetables, dairy, protein and grains, which emphasized the importance of eating a varied diet, composed of foods from all the food groups. The students loved participating by acting out the characters in the book!

The second half of the lesson focused on allowing students to classify foods as either “healthy to eat every day” or “a special treat”.  The dietetic interns believe this message is important for young children so that they do not learn to classify foods as “good” or “bad” and associate food with negative feelings such as guilt.  Students were instructed to color the food inside of the blank figure they were given if it is a healthy every day food, and to color it on the outside of the body if it should be a special treat, only to be eaten every once in a while.

Students were excited about drawing and coloring. As each food was shown, they were quick to respond and shouted out answers. They were able to identify each food accurately, according to the nutrition guidelines we gave them. They expressed their enthusiasm for food like candy, cake and soda, but were also aware that having them often is not good for their health.

Overall, it was a great and busy day at JQES. The kindergarteners enjoyed the sessions and both the interns and the students learned a lot from each other. It was a good opportunity for everyone involved and they look forward to returning this Friday!