Our University of Maryland Extension (UME) Baltimore County’s Extension Advisory Council (EAC) is comprised of community leaders who help advise, promote and market UME in Baltimore County. Council members serve an essential function through their intimate understanding of our local communities and searching for new opportunities for UME. In order to help them understand the breadth of our researched based educational programming efforts, educators provide ‘hands on’ opportunities for them to experience programs they are offering in the community. At our most recent EAC meeting educators Lainie Morgan and Karen Turner took the lead in sharing one aspect of the Food Supplement Nutrition Education (FSNE) program with our Council members.
EAC members became part of an Integrating Nutrition Education into the Elementary Curriculum (INC) demonstration class for an evening. The 10-week INC trainings are taught by FSNE educator Lainie Morgan to Baltimore County Public School teachers each fall and spring and are designed to develop the teachers’ nutrition knowledge and skills to incorporate healthy eating themes into any subject area. The majority of the class revolves around activities to stimulate teacher ideas for nutrition ed. integration opportunities and techniques and then facilitate idea sharing among colleagues; and that’s what EAC members experienced.
FSNE educators Karen Turner and Lainie assigned all members a grade level and class objectives then coached the EAC as they rotated around 12 activities from the INC course. Members made butterfly bites and fruit salad while reviewing methods for incorporating estimating and measuring objectives, measured out the fat and sugar grams of various common foods while considering how to broach the subject with students, referenced USDA guidelines and graphed their fruit and vegetable consumption versus their recommendations, perused books and classroom activities and discovered what would fit a particular grade and subject, explored FSNE curricula for youth and adults, considered how to engage parents and the community through newsletters and events, brainstormed ways to utilize food cards and nutrition labels for different class needs, and much more.
After delving into the activities and discussing thoughts in small groups, the EAC reconvened to share experiences, ideas for their actual professions as well as for their pretend classrooms, and questions about the course and nutrition education throughout Baltimore County. Several walked away with book titles, web links and integration ideas jotted down for the future and others gained a better sense of the breath of FSNE programming and opportunities.