It is nearing the end of January and I cannot believe how fast this Internship is flying by. If anyone knows a way to slow down time, please let me know. I have completed my work in both food service and information tech, and now I am moving on to community nutrition, before I wrap up with Clinical. Each segment has been distinct in its own way and Community has been no different.
Last week I began working with FSNE as part of the University of Maryland Extension and two of those days I went into the field to work with nutrition educators. We went to teach nutrition to 4th graders on Tuesday and kindergarteners on Wednesday and I wasn’t really sure what to expect because I hadn’t worked with kids in so long. I wound up having a blast! Kids are great to work with because they are so receptive to what you are trying to tell them. If you make it interesting, the children will buy in. With adults you often get resistance and skepticism, but the kids care, even if they can get a little riled up.
I found out very quickly that the key to engaging kids is getting to their level. You cannot expect a 5 year old or even a 9 year old to sit there and focus on a lecture. You have to figure out one or two points you want to get across and make it fun, interesting, and actionable for the children. Let them express their creativity, kids will say the funniest things I believe that you should encourage it. Sure, they may get a little distracted but if they view you as a friend and not an authority they will learn more. I am definitely a kid at heart and I know there is nothing more unnatural then to sit and listen all day. Make learning fun and kids will naturally be excited about it.
As a new week begins I look forward to going out and working in the schools again. It has been a great opportunity to do something fun that helps the community. When I was growing up I never was taught what to eat or how to be healthy in school. I think it is an amazing achievement that these programs even exist and I am grateful to be able to help.