The fifth graders at Innovations Academy in Scripps Ranch proved that they are no strangers to kale and cauliflower as they pointed out the fresh vegetables growing in their school garden to their parents, grandparents and public health nursing students from Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU). The nutrition lesson was part of a community teaching project the nursing students had to complete for their spring semester at PLNU. The nursing students partnered with Innovations Academy 5th grade teacher, Emily Luscomb, on the food and nutrition project designed to shed light on how food, nutrition and eating have changed over the decades.
On March 1, the parents and grandparents of the 5th graders were invited to attend the presentation and participate in the activities. Together, they navigated the intricate and complicated world of fast food, chemicals and additives, and the dangers of sugary drinks and how the food we eat affects our moods. The students shared their thoughts on the foods they like eating, while the adults described food portions in the past and how they have changed over their lifetimes. The nursing students dispelled nutrition myths, gave healthy alternatives to unhealthy snacks and conducted a learning day from which all generations would benefit.
The day ended with a scavenger hunt in the school garden, where the 5th grade students were given time to show off the vegetables they care for, as well as learn more from their parents and grandparents about their cooking and eating preferences.
“I believe [having the grandparents and parents] was essential to the success of the teaching project,” said Amanda Boily, Point Loma Nazarene University nursing professor. “We were able to pull from the grandparents’ experiences and knowledge in order to conduct our teaching project, and their questions and input were a valuable asset in the students’ learning environment. I also believe the grandparents asked very poignant questions and were able to relate a lot to the differences between foods and culture from their childhood to now.”
Bringing the generations together to learn about something that affects everyone has a profound effect on how we think about our own health. It’s not just the health of the students or the health of the parents; it is the health of the entire family. Health is important to all of us, but it is most appreciated when it concerns those that we love. The intergenerational aspect to the nutrition lesson that was presented by the Point Loma Nazarene University nursing students added value that is necessary to take into account when addressing health in our communities.
Article written by Jennifer Navala, Intergenerational Coordinator, East & North Central Regions, County of San Diego HHSA
Community Service & Youth