I was recently asked by a friend I know who is a primary school teacher if I would like to an ‘Exercise and Nutrition’ talk to her class. She had hesitancy in asking me as she thought that I would say no; but I thought why not?! If they are wanting to learn I’d be more than happy to help. If it is good enough for Jamie Oliver to try and change school dinners then surely it is good enough for me to spend ninety minutes of my time talking to a group of 7-8 year olds.
I have done nutrition talks to adults before but not to children so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As I pulled into the school grounds I could see one of the children shouting from the playground, ‘here is David.’ His voice full of excitement!! At this point I was feeling a little apprehensive that even before I got out of the car they were shouting my name!
As I walked into the school I was shown to their classroom, it had yellow walls and a bright red carpet! The table and chairs were so small; it bought back memories of when I was that age (not so long ago lol!)
The kids were still playing out as it was lunch time so I waited in the staff room; as a child you were never allowed in there so I felt like I was going to be told off by the other teachers who were in there eating lunch.
We went back to the classroom where I sat on the teachers swivel chair which was positioned at the front of the classroom; as I sat on it I swivelled side to side ready and waiting for the children to come rushing through the door.
As sixteen 7-8 year olds came rushing through the door they all looked wide eyed and full of enthusiasm, with one cheeky little chap saying, ‘hi David, you’ve got less hair than on your photo!’ Ha ha thanks for that one!
So as we talked about the importance of healthy eating and the three major food groups (carbohydrates, protein and fat). I was quite amazed at actually how much they all knew! I had expected them to know nothing at all but they all knew the three major food groups and the reasons of why it is important to eat healthy (great credit must go to the teacher for this: whether this is the same in other schools or age groups I don’t know?)
I thought it would be a good idea that I bought some fruit in for the children to try. So I bought a range of different fruits that I thought the children may not of tried before (raspberries, blackberries, white grapes, red grapes, gala melon, watermelon and pineapple). To my amazement that the children knew so much about healthy eating most of them had also tried all the fruit before (epic fail again). The most worrying part about the fruit was not that they had tried them before but that one may have an allergy to them (that’s all I needed an ambulance being called and a child being carted off to the hospital!!) But the teacher assured me that none of them had so I would be ok. All the children liked all the fruit, some kinds more than others and they all had a favourite (I can’t remember which one was the overall favourite?)
As they finished eating they had a quick drink break (little cartons of milk with straws being handed out between them); it reminded me of a scene from the Arnold Schwarzenegger film ‘Kindergarten Cop.’
As we all stood out ready to go outside to the playgroup to talk and participate in the next part of the session ‘exercise.’ I couldn’t help but feel how tall I felt. I know how sad am I; at being 5′ 5″ I felt tall comparing myself to a classroom full of 7-8 year olds!!
As the kids raced around the playground with me shouting out simple exercises to do in between; the kids were full of enthusiasm and energy, hanging on to everyone word and exercise I shouted out next! They were none stop for the whole 20-30 minutes that we were outside; not one complaining.
As we preceded to go back inside after a hard exercise circuit that probably older children or even adults would of complained about. I was thanked by all the children for having such a brilliant afternoon.
I could only help but see that as kids they absorb everything that they are told whether that be good or bad. It is so important to help promote the benefits about exercise and nutrition at an early age so that it can then be taken with them in the rest of their lives.
I was astounded at how much the group knew and how they all enjoyed the exercise and all the different types of fruit that they tried. This all led me to other questions as the government is stating that child obesity is on the increase!
Is this knowledge and enthusiasm the same for all 7-8 year olds?
Is this because the school was in a rural setting and the children were from a rural background?
Would it be the same or different in a town or city based school?
All questions that I do not have the answer too. But I would be more than happy to try and find out.
If you would like me to come and talk to your children in a school or after school club then please get in contact via the contact page now.
I hope you enjoyed reading the article as much as I enjoyed writing it.
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