Date: Jan. 20, 2012
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, email@example.com
PNC Students Take On "Countdown to a Healthy Start” Project
Westville – The Purdue University North Central Early Childhood Education and Nursing programs have earned a grant from the United Healthcare UnitedHealth HEROES program to aid their "Countdown to a Healthy Start” project.
This project is a collaboration of the Early Childhood Education students enrolled in the Family, School and Community Partnerships course and Nursing students in the Family Health Assessment course. Their project focuses on establishing positive relationships with families to foster children's healthy development and to prevent childhood obesity.
As part of their academic work, PNC Nursing students will teach PNC Early Childhood students about the issues of childhood obesity, sleep habits, immunizations and disease prevention. In turn, the Early Childhood students will teach Nursing students about working within school and community settings.
During weekly visits with their community partners, PNC students will collect information about the specific needs of these organizations to support families in establishing healthy habits and school readiness.
Ultimately, students in this service learning project will together design, create and host community interactive family events, sharing information to support families preparing to transition children from child care or preschool settings to elementary school. An essential component of the program will be educating participants on the healthy habits essential to a successful start to school. The students' research shows that having sufficient readiness skills and positive health habits contribute to a successful start to school.
The students intend to host family events in the community in April and will share information about the factors that contribute to a healthy start to school and lead health assessments. They will show some healthy snack choices and share novel gross motor activities to increase awareness and public education about the prevention of childhood obesity.
This theory-into-practice group project is considered to be an essential foundation to the students' career development. Students will have the opportunity to grow personally and professionally while reinforcing the inherent nature of service embodied in each of these professions. Personally, students will increase their individual self-confidence, motivation and initiative as well as experience a sense of accomplishment as they successfully plan for and complete the Family Night events. Professionally, students will gain experience collaborating with an interdisciplinary and diverse team, develop effective communication strategies and expand their problem-solving skills.
Through this service to the community, students in both programs will learn about the variety of available resources & realize the interconnectedness of the helping professions.
This is one of five grants awarded in Indiana by the UnitedHealth HEROES program and one of 282 schools and community-based organizations nationwide.
This community-focused, service-learning initiative by UnitedHealthcare and Youth Service America, supports local programs that engage children as learners and leaders of healthy habits.