Richardson Elementary celebrates Aetna sponsored American Heart Association Teaching Garden

7 Jun

richardson elementary

Students, staff and faculty at Richardson Elementary couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, as they were joined by parent and community volunteers to celebrate the dedication of their American Heart Association Teaching Garden on Monday, June 3. The garden, sponsored by Aetna, is intended to serve as a nutritional learning tool and includes plants such as tomatoes, peppers and fresh herbs. The students will get the chance to nurture the garden all summer and see the results of their labor in fall when harvest time arrives.
The dedication began with a warm welcome from Principal, Julie Petruna, who thanked everyone for their participation. The highlight of the afternoon was when a third grade class recited a poem about gardening and a second grade class sang “You Are My Sunshine.” The dedication concluded with Richardson Elementary receiving a Teaching Garden plaque to display in their school, honoring their commitment to health.

“We are so excited for this opportunity to work with our students to educate them about the importance of making healthy choices within the context of the Teaching garden and its curriculum. The teachers and I hope this experience will inspire our student body to take the tools they learn from working together and put them to use for success in their future efforts,” said Principal at Richardson, Julie Petruna.

The American Heart Association Teaching Garden Program aims to teach elementary school students around the country the importance of healthy eating by providing hands-on learning experiences. With the rate of childhood obesity on the rise, the program’s focus is on teaching proper nutrition at an early age. By showing children that not all food comes from a can or package, it gives them knowledge that may help them make healthier choices as they get older.

“We are very proud to partner with Aetna and the team at Richardson Elementary to help bring a better understanding of healthy eating to our next generation. By adopting healthy nutrition patterns at an early age, we hope these students will grow up to share their knowledge of healthy eating with their families and friends,” said Ashley Smas, senior Heart Walk director with the American Heart Association.

Aetna has sponsored Teaching Gardens in five elementary schools across the nation, and Aetna nurses have given their time and volunteered at each location to help build the teaching gardens. Along with 10 planter boxes, Richardson will also receive items such as garden gloves, seed packets, trowels, cultivators, pruners, buckets, and a hose. The staff will receive a mini camcorder with an 8 GB SD card to help record and share the success of the garden with students, parents, staff and the community.

The American Heart Association has a 30 year history working with children and schools; currently, the association has an active relationship with nearly one-third (30,000) of the country’s schools. The Teaching Gardens program is part of a larger American Heart Association, My Heart. My Life. healthy living initiative, designed to help Americans understand what it means to be healthy, and to take action. For more information about the Teaching Gardens program and how you can participate, visit http://www.heart.org/teachinggardens or call 330-664-1905.

reblogged from the Cuyahoga Falls Patch 

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