Teacher candidates roll up their sleeves for food literacy

Earlier this term, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit (Health Unit) transported its blender bike and a variety of healthy ingredients to the Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU) Student Centre for a training session for teacher candidates on how to teach food literacy skills.

The session was organized by Dr. Melissa Corrente, Health and Physical Education instructor at Nipissing University in the Schulich School of Education. Public health dieticians, Kendra Patrick and Alex Lacarte from the Health Unit, developed a hands-on session to help teacher candidates feel more confident and comfortable in teaching food literacy skills to their students.

The two-hour session involved four interactive stations where teacher candidates were able to “roll up their sleeves” and customize their own smoothie using a blender bike that mixed the ingredients as they pedalled. Teacher candidates were also challenged to use their senses to guess 10 different spices while creating a custom salad dressing, and had the opportunity to put their chopping skills to work at the spring roll station.

“Local health units have wonderful resources for educators to utilize. It is my hope that teacher candidates continue to work in the spirit of collaboration throughout their future careers,” notes Dr. Corrente. “It’s important to foster collaborative relationships in the community. We are stronger when we work together and share knowledge.”

Dr. Corrente has always been passionate about teaching food literacy skills and when the latest version of Canada’s Food Guide was released in 2019, she noticed a gap in translating this knowledge for the school environment.

“Many educators didn’t feel well equipped to teach the new food guide to their students,” said Dr. Corrente. “If we can start having conservations surrounding food literacy in pre-service education programs, it will help better prepare the next generation of teachers.”

"It’s always great to be able to collaborate with Dr. Corrente and share these valuable skills with future teachers,” shared Lacarte, dietician with the Health Unit. “It is so important for children and youth to have the opportunity to learn these valuable life skills in school.”

Dr. Corrente would like to thank the Health Unit for facilitating the session and providing all the delicious ingredients, and the NUSU Student Centre staff for providing the space and kitchen utensils.

For more information or to find more school and classroom supports, visit https://www.myhealthunit.ca/en/health-professionals-and-partners/school-and-classroom-supports.aspx .

GeneralPhysical and Health Education