Getting into the ‘My Plate’ groove


New Wauseon Elementary School programs

By David J. Coehrs - [email protected]



Serving Up My Plate hopes to teach Wauseon third grade students better nutritional habits.

Serving Up My Plate hopes to teach Wauseon third grade students better nutritional habits.


Students at Wauseon Elementary School will be learning about proper nutrition and exercise this school year through two fun programs sponsored by the Fulton County United Way.

Serving Up My Plate, a program piloted in the school’s third grade classes last year, returns for what is planned to be an annual event. The three 30-minute sessions scheduled over three weeks are designed to cover basic nutrition education, in part through hands-on activities.

“It shows what’s healthy, what’s not healthy, how much is healthy,” said Tante Lovins, the United Way’s resource development and community engagement coordinator. “We want to catch them before they get into unhealthy patterns.”

The curriculum was developed by My Plate, a U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative that replaced the traditional food pyramid several years ago. It will be presented to the nearly 150 third graders of the Wauseon school district by Rachel Kinsman, health education coordinator for the Fulton County Health Department.

The students will receive activity books and plates that designate food group serving portions. Hands-on activities will include a lesson in how much sugar certain beverages contain, and tasting fresh produce. At the program’s conclusion each student will get a $10 voucher for produce at Chief Supermarket.

Serving Up My Plate will be funded by United Way campaign dollars and sponsorships. It was created by the agency’s board two years ago to complement My Plate and to help prevent childhood obesity in the county.

“It’s something our board felt was important,” Lovins said. “Everything we’ve heard has been positive.”

Kinsman said the specially-designed plates given to the students are a good visual lesson. She said third grade students were chosen to participate because they’re at a good teaching age.

“It’s a nice way to put things together. We want to teach them these things as early as we can,” she said.

The students will complete tests before and after the program “to see if they grasp it,” Kinsman said. “We need to get them all the tools we can. They are bombarded with choices. When they have the choices to make, maybe they’ll make different choices when they have the options.”

Wauseon fourth graders will undergo “Crunch Out Obesity,” a six-week piloted program developed by the Ashland County United Way. Lead by Derek Eddings, the elementary school physical education teacher, the program will use a curriculum involving large, multi-workout exercise balls the students will get to keep.

Eddings said other physical activities will be included, but the exercise balls will be the primary focus.

“They’ll be extremely effective,” he said. “It’s a creative and fun way to experience fitness. It’a a different way to get a full body workout.”

He will also offer a refresher course on My Plate, and students will record their eating and exercise habits in individual journals. Those who complete their journals will be awarded prizes.

As the program ends, the students can enter an essay contest about what they’ve learned, with a grand prize winner named.

Lovins said the United Way would eventually like to extend the programs to all third and fourth grade students in Fulton County.

Serving Up My Plate hopes to teach Wauseon third grade students better nutritional habits.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2016/08/web1_my-plate.jpgServing Up My Plate hopes to teach Wauseon third grade students better nutritional habits.
New Wauseon Elementary School programs

By David J. Coehrs

[email protected]

David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.

David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.