Pontiac Schools PEP grant collaboration with Oakland County MSU Extension

Expanding and enhancing physical education programs.

The Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) provides grants to local education agencies (LEAs) and community based organizations (CBOs) to initiate, expand or enhance physical education programs, including after-school programs, for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Grant recipients must implement programs that help students make progress toward meeting state standards. Projects must be designed to help students meet its State’s physical education standards by undertaking instruction in healthy eating habits and good nutrition and at least one of the authorized physical fitness activities.

Oakland County Michigan State University Extension nutrition department provided nutrition education to every child in the district over a period of time. To increase awareness surrounding physical activity, nutrition programming demonstrated different types of movements through dance motion and making healthy food choices. MSU Extension’s health and nutrition programs were able to meet this daunting task through two nutrition programs Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed) and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).

The Oakland County district had around 2,100 elementary students for the 2012-13 school year. All of the students participated in a six week-long series that was presented by a program instructor or associate, right in the child’s classroom. The curriculum used is entitled Show Me Nutrition. Each lesson in Show Me Nutrition is interactive and dynamic with an accompanying book to help reinforce positive learning derived from the lesson. The use of hand puppets, games and food samples also helped the Oakland County students learn to make positive food choices and to incorporate simple movements that help promote and increase physical activity levels and awareness.

Students and teachers completed pre and post-tests based on varying age appropriateness. Third through fifth grade students who participated in the SNAP and Show Me Nutrition program during this time period showed that 32 percent (162 out 510 students) improved in incorporating physical activity as part of their daily lives. Of this group, 41 percent improved their vegetable intake during this time period.

Out of the 39 Pontiac elementary teachers surveyed, 27 responded. Of those responding, 92 percent rated the overall experience with MSU Extension health and nutrition programming as excellent. MSU Extension Oakland County nutrition staff have been invited back to implement programming to all of the elementary school children in the city of Pontiac for the start of the 2013-14 school year.

Below are some quotes that the teachers shared about the health and nutrition staff:

  • Fantastic way to teach students the benefits of exercise and nutrition. The students enjoyed learning and experiencing new foods. Thank you :)
  • My students enjoyed Mr. Frank coming into our classroom. Thank you; hope to see you next year.
  • Mrs. Hampton did a great job with the kids!

MSU Extension offers health and nutrition programming throughout the state of Michigan, to all ages and levels. To find a program near you contact your local MSU Extension.

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