First-graders Gavin Logan and Samantha Bartrow try out different kinds of apples as part of a program to encourage healthy eating at Patton Elementary School in Roseville Oct. 16.

First-graders Gavin Logan and Samantha Bartrow try out different kinds of apples as part of a program to encourage healthy eating at Patton Elementary School in Roseville Oct. 16.

Photo provided by Joe Genest


Patton Elementary partners with WSU to teach kids about healthy living

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 24, 2018

 Patton Elementary School Principal Jean Williams hands out apple slices to students as part of a program to encourage healthy living. The school partnered with Wayne State University to provide new playground equipment, fund educational programs, and allow for the resources to host such activities.

Patton Elementary School Principal Jean Williams hands out apple slices to students as part of a program to encourage healthy living. The school partnered with Wayne State University to provide new playground equipment, fund educational programs, and allow for the resources to host such activities.

Photo provided by Joe Genest

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ROSEVILLE — The students at Patton Elementary School in Roseville are learning to eat healthier and enjoy a few tasty snacks while they’re at it.

The elementary school is involved in several initiatives with Wayne State University to encourage the kids to eat healthier and be more active. On Oct. 16, the students tried different kinds of apples to see how healthy food can differ and then voted on which type they liked best.

“We partnered with Wayne State University to provide healthier options for students,” said Patton Elementary School Principal Jean Williams. “They helped fund a program to encourage healthy living, they provided new playground equipment, and helped us form an after-school program to get kids active.”

This is all part of a grant received from Wayne State University earlier this year. The university has been involved in this program since 2009. The school now works with its own “healthy school coordinator” sent out from the university.

“Patton Elementary applied for a grant for these programs last year,” said Caitlyn Bever, a healthy school coordinator with Wayne State University. “We got about 100 applicants, and we picked 38. Ms. Williams blew us away with her presentation. She already had a lot going on related to healthy eating and physical education, and she seemed very dedicated.”

The students voted between Ginger Gold apples and Red Gala apples, with Red Gala being the overall favorite. Bever said the purpose of the program is to not only get kids eating healthier, but to also engage with them so they are thinking about why a food is healthy and why that can be important.

“Part of our programming at Patton is trying to introduce various healthy eating habits to the kids,” she explained. “Hopefully, this encourages the kids to try something new and find a new favorite food to get their parents to buy them.”

The students enjoyed their apple taste test and said that they were learning a lot about nutrition and healthy living.

“I liked the red one. It was much juicier and tastier,” said kindergartner Kamiliah Hodges. “(We learned) you need to eat other foods too, like vegetables. Spinach is my favorite.”

“You need to run, eat stuff like broccoli and carrots, and play outside,” added her classmate, Demetrius Jackson. “It can be fun too.”

Williams said the school will be continuing throughout the year to promote these kinds of programs through its partnership with Wayne State.

“We’ll be teaching the kids what a balanced diet is and how exercising can be fun, as well as good for you,” said Williams. “It’s always better to reach out to kids before they start to set their behaviors in stone.”

Bever agreed that it is better to reach out to children as young as possible and lay a positive foundation.

“When you create healthy behaviors at a young age, it creates good habits across their lifetimes,” said Bever. “Not to mention this is a fun way to engage with young students in a way they enjoy.”

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