Last week Body Walk traveled to two schools, Clinton Park Elementary and Oak Forest Elementary, both in Hinds County. I love going to new-to-the-Body-Walk schools, and sharing Body Walk with children who have heard about it, but have never seen it. Children have so many ideas of what it will be, but when they see the exhibit all set up, they are amazed.
Rocheryl Ware scheduled Body Walk to come to Hinds and she was fully hands-on at both locations. There was ample Extension help as well. Thanks to Marcus Davis, Patrick Morgan, Doyle Banks, Katrina Owens and Lurlinda Soignier, we had two great set ups, two great days of Body Walk fun, and take down went smoothly both times.
Every school is different. There are different educators, volunteers, and spaces. As soon as I arrived at CPE, the principal, Suzanne Hollingshead came out to meet me. She was very hands on, helping with the set up, and with making sure all the teachers arrived on time the next day. I like to ask the kids what they think they are going to learn about before they go in. One little boy said, “Feet! We are going to learn about our feet!” I didn’t correct him, he seemed quite sure he was right. We had a great day there and before we knew it, all the classes had gone through and it was time to take down.
Arriving at Oak Forest Elementary, I was very happy to see a few members of the Army ready to unload the truck and set up. Army men and woman are the best at unloading, setting up, and getting the exhibit looking its best. While we were unzipping bags, and hanging walls, I met Ms. Alford. She seemed to be the driving force of organization at Oak Forest. In addition to all the good work she did with Body Walk, she is a 4-H volunteer, and she directs children in raising a vegetable garden each year at the school. Some of the vegetables are served at the school and some are sold at a local farmers market. Then, the money raised is donated to a local soup kitchen. It was a pleasure to meet her.
At Oak Forest Elementary, we had college volunteers from Tougaloo College. They were excellent presenters in the stations, chaperones for groups that didn’t have an adult walking through with them, and Ms. Alford recruited some of them to help pack sack lunches. Everyone had a job.
Kids start at the Brain station where they are greeted by Sir Rebrum. Their next stop is the mouth and then the stomach.
I love this picture because you can see the teeth seats so well. The children sit on these while they learn about brushing, flossing, and why low sugar foods are a better snack than high sugar ones. After they finish in this room, they travel down the esophagus, and into the stomach. You can just see the food pyramid in the stomach station, printed on the back wall.
When the children finish the rooms, they arrive at the pathway of life, where Sir Rebrum greets them again.
The Pathway is a review of all the stations they just visited on their trip through the body. They exit through a ‘cut’ in the skin, into the Pathway and once the review is over, they have completed their trip. I am always amazed at how much information the children absorb as they travel through the exhibit. During the review, they are calling out answers, on target and correct. It is so encouraging to hear. The goal of Body Walk is teach children the importance of making health choices. From the answers I hear called out, they are getting the message.