Regan Luken, instructor for the USD Department of Nursing, said students were divided into small groups and assigned a topic and age level for education sessions to be presented to all third, fourth, and fifth grade students at Jolley Elementary School in Vermillion.
Luken said students worked for several weeks preparing their presentations including hands-on and interactive games to engage the 8-to 11-year-old audiences.
"Students often concentrate on overall assessment of adult patients. It is key to be able to communicate effectively with all ages and levels of understanding. This exercise not only involves the students in a community project, but forces the students to determine the level of comprehension for the audience and communicate at the appropriate level," said Luken.
The third and fourth grade students were presented with six topics including nutrition, exercise and daily activity; lung health – allergy and asthma awareness; skin health, personal and dental hygiene; stress/anger management and yoga relaxation exercise, and healthy relationships.
"We are very proud of the students," Luken said. "They were well prepared for this project and were enthusiastic presenters."
"The Vermillion School District sees this is an important opportunity for the school system and an excellent way to incorporate the topics of health and fitness into the curriculum for the elementary-aged students," commented Brodersen.
USD physical therapy and occupational therapy students worked with the fifth grade classes on the topics of cardio-exercise and disability awareness. The fifth grade students also participated in four of the other health topics.
Lana Svien, professor with the USD Physical Therapy Department said "All graduates will be expected to provide health fairs for community members of all ages. This project prepares the students to provide prevention and wellness education to the child and make an early impact on their future health and wellness."
"Participation in community events like the Jolley School Health Education Day provides students the opportunity to inform others about our profession, promote health and wellness and interact with a variety of community members of all ages and abilities," commented Angela Anderson, USD Occupational Therapy Department.
"The Jolley School students and teachers completed a survey following the Health Education Day event," added Mary Merrigan, director of public relations, Sanford Vermillion. "The feedback from the surveys was extremely positive. Overall, Jolley students enjoyed all the topics and asked to have the event again next year. Teachers were also very pleased. Comments from the school district staff were shared that the USD students were very organized and prepared. It is such a pleasure to work on a collaborative project like this. All of the Sanford Vermillion staff members that helped oversee and present truly enjoyed working with the participants from the university and interacting with the Jolley students."