Kids and Kiwi: Medical Assistant Students Teach Toddlers about Good Nutrition

Sometimes it’s hard to communicate important information to people. As a medical assistant, the need to communicate effectively is more vital than ever. One needs to develop a strong line of communication that effectively brings trust to each and every patient no matter what age. For some medical assistant students, they came face to face with this very challenge with a group of toddlers.

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The Patient Care Sciences I class

Students in Patient Care Sciences I recently coordinated a project with Pooh Bear Childcare and Preschool to share knowledge on nutrition to a group of three year olds. With a full tray of bananas, apples, oranges and kiwi, the quest was on to communicate, engage and share a snack with these adorable tots.

The idea for the project came easy for the class. “We were learning about nutrition and nutritional facts during class along with child growth charts, and we felt they (Pooh Bear) were a great fit to teach about nutrition.” said Shelly Ace, medical assistant student.

To prepare, students split into groups and created age appropriate activities that the students would enjoy and learn from. For one group, they developed an educational activity identifying core fruits. “We picked out different photos of fruit and made them into flashcards and used them to quiz the students,” said, Connie Anderson, medical assistant student.

Next was the snack coordination. “We figured out how many kids there were and what type of fruit they were allowed to eat,” said Shelly. “There were very specific rules for the kids to enjoy the snacks. If we brought apples and oranges, they had to be cut a certain size. If we brought grapes, they needed to be cut and peeled. We were also limited to certain type of fruit we could bring due to allergies.”

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The group also created picture sheets that compared calories of the very fruit they had for a snack to popular candy. This piece served as a conversation starter with the kids while they snacked.

Closing the presentation came a coloring book takeaway that the kids could enjoy completing at a later time.

“I loved it,” said Connie. “I just love kids, and I thought it was fun.”

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Snack time! Medical assistant student Shelly Ace chats with the kids while they enjoy a healthy snack.

“The setup was not what we all thought it was going to be,” reflected Shelly. “We all thought each of our three separate groups would sit down with a group of ten kids and then rotate. Instead, they brought a group of ten children ready to engage in all three groups and did it that way. We ended up having to improvise by that challenge, and it worked out fine in the end.”

That last minute change became a learning experience for the class. As instructor Susan Yunker explains, “In the real world, working in a clinic as a medical assistant, you may think something is going happen a certain way and then the situation ends up changing. That challenge became a real life scenario for my students to learn from. I thought they all handled it well.”

“The students from Globe University-Madison West were very hands on with the children,” said Theresa Shaeffer, childcare coordinator at Pooh Bear. “They were well prepared and very friendly. The children enjoyed themselves, and when I asked them about the presentation, they were very excited about the coloring books and the bananas! Thank you so much for thinking of us for your service project! We appreciate it!”