Students at Soaring Eagle School in the Hannahville Indian Community are learning about healthy eating and having fun doing it.
The lessons are part of a program called Summer Kids Zone, which helps kids keep up with their education through the summer months.
“The kids are having fun, which is really important. It’s good to learn, but to make it, you know, a fun environment, they take that enthusiasm home, and its just wonderful to see, you know, how excited they are about it,” National Recreation and Parks Association manager of grants and partnerships Marla Collum said.
The program is funded by a $21,500 grant from the National Recreation and Parks Association through the Walmart Foundation. Hannahville was one of 50 communities across the nation to receive the grant.
So far, the school has used the money to make learning about healthy eating fun. Students learn about the effect of different foods on the organs with an OrganWise Guys doll. They also get to plant and grow their own microgreens, which will soon be moved into a greenhouse that they helped build. But the kids aren’t just having fun; they’re also preventing a phenomenon called summer learning loss.
“We assess the kids with a program called MAPS, measures of academic progress, and we do that at the beginning of summer kids zone and we also do that at the end of summer kids zone. So all during the summer, we kind of hide, camouflage our learning and all the different activities that we do, but at the end when we finalize and see our testing, we know that it does work,” Hannahville director of youth services Rod Lovell said.
There are about 140 kids enrolled in the Summer Kids Zone, which runs through August 1st.