Saint Louis University

Author: Delaney Lundeen
Published: Wednesday, February 15 2012

“Teachers plant the seeds of knowledge...

As part of the SLU Dietetic Internship, each intern is required to teach three nutrition education lessons to elementary or middle school students. Dietitians assume many roles in their careers—with one of the most important being teachers. Learning to teach in ways that our patients (or in this case, students) understand and can apply to their current lifestyle is integral to get to the “root” of the problem.

Rewind back to August. I met with a fellow intern to plan out our first nutrition education lesson. We spent hours creating our lesson plan, objectives, supply lists, and take home activity for the students. The ultimate goal was to incorporate a nutrition lesson, a physical activity, a gardening lesson, and a snack (for twenty-seven fourth grade students) into a fifty-minute time slot. Hours of planning went into creating the lesson.

Saint Louis University Dietetic Interns Planting Seeds

With everything ready, we set off on February 6, along with a third intern to assist us, to the fourth grade classroom. We were prepared, and we were excited! We gave a brief introduction, and many of the children had never heard of a dietetic intern/dietitian. The majority of them had never received any nutrition education either. We were excited to be able to plant the first “seeds” of the importance of nutrition in their budding minds. After all, elementary school is the time when children begin developing their lifelong habits.

We split the kids up into three groups and they rotated through each station: gardening, nutrition education, and the physical activity. The fifty minutes went by in a flash. The kids were so energetic and eager to learn. At times, they got sidetracked. They asked questions. Told stories. Things didn’t always go as planned. However, we learned to stay calm and in control. Communication was essential to ensure success between the three groups.

At the gardening station, the children learned how plant their own seeds: cabbage, kohlrabi, and broccoli. We taught them how to care for their seedlings, to make sure they received sunlight and watered them regularly. Over the course of the year, the fourth graders will plant their seedlings in their class garden, weed and feed them, and harvest them come May.

By showing up in this fourth grade classroom and sharing our passion of nutrition with the children, not only did we teach them to plant the actual seeds for their garden, we planted the seeds in their minds of the importance of nutrition from a young age. As dietetic interns and future dietitians, we continually plants seeds of knowledge wherever we go. We will continue to do so in the years to come, because that’s what a teacher does.

…that grow forever.”