January 30, 2014

Exhibit teaches kids how to live healthy

Jessica Lane, Staff Writer,
The Express-Star


Filling about half the gym at Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center, the "Farm to You" exhibit educated students on healthy lifestyles. 

The exhibit opened Jan. 29 as the result of a combined effort from the Chickasha community, USAO and Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center and Grand Ave. Elementary teacher and parent volunteers. Callie Schlatter, Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center health and P.E. instructor, coordinated the event. 

Wednesday marked the first of three days that it will take to corral over 1,200 Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center and Grand Ave. Elementary students throughout the 10 segment exhibit that covers dental hygiene, exercise, healthy skin, muscles, bones and a tight squeeze through the small intestine. 

Parent, teacher and USAO drama student volunteers used a variety of creative, interactive methods to make the educational journey exciting for the students. 

Shelee Henderson, a parent volunteer, taught the students about the My Plate nutrition guide. Students picked vegetables from a plastic garden, which helped relate the farm to the table. 

Lacey Mado, a volunteer, educated the students about the small intestine in a narrow hallway of the exhibit where plastic strips hung from the ceiling, representing cilia. 

Kimberly Sanders and Holly Franklin operated the section over how to keep skin healthy, which included using sunscreen and keeping skin clean. Sanders put a powder on the students' hands that made germs visible under a backlight. 

Lisa Taylor, Oklahoma County Cooperative Extension, has taken the exhibit all across the state in over 70 counties. The whole 40 by 40 foot exhibit fits into one van. 

Taylor said the exhibit brings education to students that they might not get elsewhere, such as how farming plays a role in healthy lifestyles. The students have responded well to the hands-on exhibit that keeps them entertained while learning. 

"They love it," she said.