Below are the lessons we have learned over the years:
Staffing the Program
We work in teams.
In order to implement this program effectively, you will need a team of HB&HM instructors.
- teams of 5 – 6 are optimal
- Our instructors are students of the University of the South taking courses in child development, community psychology, or independent study courses in psychology.
Each team has a leader.
Teams are established during the first three weeks of the semester, and each team selects a team leader.
- A leader’s role is to coordinate the roles and responsibilities of each team member.
Roles and responsibilities are assigned and shared.
- Teams are more effective when each instructor is responsible for specific parts of the program’s implementation.
- Duties and responsibilities are designated early on, and each instructor is individually accountable for her/his tasks.
Examples of responsibilities:
gathering materials for each lesson
- can include shopping for food items or other materials needed for each session
- preparing and storing food and non-food items for each lesson
- loading and transporting materials to the schools
- implementing the lesson with students
- engaging students in the day’s physical activities
- distributing and then collecting materials from students during each lesson
- sitting with a group of students and facilitating discussion, or circulating throughout the classroom to answer questions from students (depending on the lesson)
- cleaning up the classroom after each lesson
transporting coolers, containers and other lesson materials back from the schools
- storing them accordingly
- gathering materials for each lesson
Training is essential to the efficacy of the program.
When training University students to be instructors, we focus on the following areas:
General guidelines on how to work with children and within schools.
- how to conduct oneself when working with children.
General principles of the HB&HM program.
- how to design and implement units/lessons based on these principles.
- General guidelines on how to handle food materials.
- General guidelines on how to react to problems that may arise in sessions.
- General guidelines on how to design and administer assessments of participants’ learning.
- General guidelines on how to protect children.
- Specific training for individual units/lessons within the curriculum.
- General guidelines on how to work with children and within schools.
- Typically, university students train for 12 – 16 hours with the professor who is in charge of the program before beginning to implement the program; in addition, university students continue to train for individual units/lessons throughout their work with the program.
Training never stops.
- Throughout the program, university students are asked to keep a journal in which they reflect on the apparent efficacy of each session; this way, lessons are continually considered and improved. In addition, university students are asked to troubleshoot and correct the problems that do arise.
- At the end of the program, university students are also asked to submit a summative evaluation, including their perceptions of the program’s overall efficacy, problems they encountered, proposed solutions, areas of the program that seemed effective and areas of the program that seemed to need revision.
Finding the right job for each person is essential to the efficacy of the program.
- Identifying the right person for each role is crucial.
- Basing roles and responsibilities on instructors’ previous experiences (in working with children, athletics, cooking, crafting, etc.) is a good starting-point for assigning roles.
Each instructor should experience as many aspects of the program as possible; however, it is unavoidable that some instructors may not be as effective in the role of session leaders as some other instructors.
- Students should receive the best instruction possible; this means that some instructors may not be the best option for leading lessons.
Keeping Everyone Healthy
Instructor health is key.
- Instructors who are sick (even with simple illnesses such as stomach bugs or colds) should not attend the lessons.
Prior to involvement in the program, potential instructors are asked if they have any chronic illnesses that may put the students at risk.
- If they do, they are assigned roles within the program that do not include direct contact with students (e.g., coding and entering assessment data).
Food safety is a priority.
Choose snacks and food that can be safely stored, transported and served to students.
- We generally avoid foods that need to be reheated or kept hot in order to ensure that we are within food safety regulations.
- We give students food that can be stored cold (in coolers, etc.) or at room temperature.
Purchase supplies for each snack as close to the date of the session as possible.
- Check food labels for expiration dates.
- Refrigerate perishable food items (milk, cheese, eggs, etc.) until one hour prior to the implementation of the program. To transport, pack perishable items in coolers with ice packs.
Prepare food (sandwiches, wraps, dips, etc.) under sanitary conditions either the night before or the day of the lesson.
- Food should then be stored in refrigerators.
For interactive snacks that the students put together themselves, separate each ingredient into its own container. In each container, place a serving utensil for students to use so that they do not touch the food with their hands until they are ready to eat it.
- Containers can either be placed on several smaller tables or buffet-style on one large table in the classroom (if available).
- Students should not put shared serving utensils in their mouths. If a student is seen doing such, both the utensil and the container should be replaced immediately.
Whenever possible, have a back-up plan.
For the Activity portions of the program, be sure to come up with back-up plans in case of inclement weather. We also faced issues with availability of the school gymnasium.
- As a back-up, we used empty hallways or classrooms for activities.
Be prepared for session-time to be cut short (due to inclement weather approaching, an impending holiday or other last-minute school activities).
- Consider creating back-up plans on how to shorten a lesson or how to split a lesson into multiple sessions.
Be prepared for low levels of student attendance on any given day (due to other student activities, illness or impending holidays).
- If there are too few students for a given lesson, prepare a back-up lesson that can be taught to fewer students.
Have a back-up food activity in case the ingredients needed for a given snack recipe are not available.
- For example, while a particular recipe may call for fresh bananas, the bananas found in the supermarket the day before the lesson may not be suitable for use. When this happens, we try to substitute a comparable healthy food item (e.g., another fresh fruit that would taste good with the other ingredients in this recipe).