What’s the latest buzz at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department? The Health Department’s Step ONE program has created an interactive pre-K educational activity using the honey bee to teach the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. The Little Sprouts Honey Bees lesson teaches children the role of bees in gardens and their importance to our food system. The class also encourages physical activity as the children “buzz” around the classroom in a demonstration of how bees pollinate and communicate.
“Getting young children to eat fresh fruits and vegetables can often be a challenge,” says Step ONE Public Health Prevention Specialist Renee Craig, the creator of the education module, “When we see the excitement on the children’s faces we know they are making a positive association with healthy foods. Hopefully, these connections extend throughout their lives.”
The Step ONE Teaching Garden program has long known that when children participate in the planting, cultivation, and harvesting of fruits and vegetables they are more likely to try them. The honey bee activity is an extension of this idea by bringing children and the garden plants together in a novel way.
Step ONE (Optimize with Nutrition and Exercise) is a collaboration between the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, the Hamilton County Mayor’s Office, and the Hamilton County Regional Health Council that was started in 2004. Our mission is “To create a culture of health in Hamilton County where residents choose to eat healthy and be physically active.” Since its inception, the program has evolved by building partnerships with other government agencies, nonprofits, schools, local foundations, and residents to work toward accomplishing the mission.
Little Sprouts Honey Bees program is available free of charge to any Hamilton County early childhood education center and is appropriate for ages 3-5. For details call Renee Craig at (423) 209-8090, or visit the Step ONE website at HCStep1.org.