Multiplication, division, fractions, solar systems, living things, citizenship, different cultures and tradition- WHEW- third grade is HARD work! No one understands this more than Oakmont Elementary 3rd grade teacher, Leslie Pursley. Unfortunately, Mrs. Pursley noticed that many of her students were skipping lunch everyday due to distractions and lack of time. Knowing that a healthy diet is critical for preparing students for classroom challenges, she decided to teach her students about nutrition with a concept called “Feed Your Brain.” After discussing the problem with students and reviewing what they had learned in science about all living things needing proper nutrition, the program was born. Students are active in the process; discussing the best lunch options daily. Talking and goofing off during lunch has decreased, and students have started to focus on using this time to properly fuel their bodies– honoring the importance of good nutrition and its positive impact on their brain. In addition to lunch, students also have healthy snack time and access to water bottles to keep them hydrated throughout the day.
Around the time “Feed your Brain” began, I attended a childhood obesity training hosted by SUDIA. I learned about all of the wonderful resources SUDIA has to offer schools and requested “Dairy to Go” cups for Mrs. Pursley’s students. Now, students are able to pack healthy snacks such as cereal and milk or cheese and crackers. Mrs. Pursley and I are also piloting a weekly nutrition lesson which includes a healthy snack like yogurt and whole grain granola for students to taste test. Our hope is that “Feed Your Brain” will help inspire kids at a young age to recognize the importance of good nutrition and its impact on both their bodies and their brains.
Tammy Poteet is a registered nurse and holds the position of nursing supervisor for Sumner County schools in Tennessee where she has worked for 17 years.