Fletcher Snack Program Offers Health and Student Leadership

Target 2 – Leadership in a Student Centered Learning Environment: FWSU will foster development of teacher and student leaders who provide innovative opportunities for local and global student-centered learning.

Action Step – Provide multiple avenues for students and staff to lead, advocate, and serve within the school and community.

Indicator of Success – (1) Creativity and risk-taking will be evident and celebrated as learners embrace new technologies. (2) Student voice will have the power to impact the perceptions of others.

The Fletcher Elementary School is helping keep students healthy by providing a free fresh fruit or vegetable snack to every student every day as part of a grant through the Vermont Agency of Education’s Child Nutrition Programs. What’s more, students are leading the charge in educating their peers on the health benefits associated with eating well.

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The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable grant, valued at $6,550, makes fruits or vegetables available to all students at a time other than mealtimes and often includes seasonal fare such as apples, pears, carrots and green peppers. The program encourages school foodservice providers to establish strong relationships with local healthy fruit and vegetable producers.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program also serves to expose children to foods that are less common, such as star fruit and jicama, a crunchy Mexican yam that can be diced and added to a salad or eaten plain or with a dip.

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Each day, the healthy snacks are prepared by the Abbey Group, Fletcher’s foodservice provider, who wrote the grant application last spring. The Abbey Group also compiles a page of interesting facts about the snack, including its history, nutritional value, place of origin, and other information. From there, fifth and sixth grade students take the information and create a video presentation using iPads that is then shown in classrooms throughout the school as students try the healthy snack.

“The fifth and sixth graders are using their video-making skills to enhance the healthy lifestyles of the younger students by introducing them to the healthy snacks. It is an opportunity for leadership on their part, listening and speaking skills, role modeling, and building capacity for a healthy future for everyone,” fifth and sixth grade teacher Jasmine Tremblay said. “It is a great opportunity for our students to be leaders for lasting change.”

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The goal of the program is to create a healthier school environment by providing healthier food choices. By expanding and increasing the variety of fruits and vegetables that children eat, both their present and future health is positively influenced. This program is seen as an important catalyst for change in efforts to combat childhood obesity by helping children learn more healthful eating habits.

“The snack programs gets kids into trying new foods and opening their minds to new things and eating healthy,” sixth grader Adam Degree said. “The videos are sometimes funny and creative and get your attention. If the videos make the snacks look good kids will try them.”

 

“The snack program lets kids explore new foods that they may not have tried before. If they like it they will probably eat more healthy,” said sixth grader Jonah Czeck.

 

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