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Healthy Kids and Families, Grades 3-4

By Dr. Jane Pentz
Lifestyle Management Associates

111 Grove St. Suite 1
West Roxbury, MA 02132

The goal of Healthy Kids and Families is to teach children about healthy eating and exercise habits. The materials are thorough and comprehensive. My review is for the third and fourth grade curriculum: It includes an instructor training manual, a children's workbook and two story books, a parent's handbook, and several smaller posters, booklets, and other support materials.

The instructor's manual provides lessons for five stages of learning: The (Food) Pyramid, Understanding Labels, Nutrition, Energy, and Healthy Lifestyle Changes. There are a total of 42 lessons which can be worked through at your own pace; each lesson will take about an hour total, including instruction and exercise. Lesson plans are "classroom style," with learning objectives, materials lists, and detailed lessons and activities. In each stage, exercises are progressively worked through; they are demonstrated on an accompanying DVD. The exercises are a good model of a workout: warm-up, cardiovascular work, muscle strengthening, and stretching. They become harder and longer as you progress through the program.

The parent's handbook gets parents up to speed on what their children are learning about (assuming they are learning this material away from home with another teacher). Lifestyle Management acknowledges that real change will happen only with the parents' support and modeling of healthy habits. The colorful and appealing children's workbook has a variety of fun worksheets.

One fun component is the use of story books to teach the importance of healthy eating. Horatio's Magical Journeys show how our bodies make energy by taking the reader for an "inside look" at how it all works. My third-grade daughter thought these stories were great fun!

If you're looking for a comprehensive, structured nutrition curriculum, Healthy Kids and Families is a fabulous choice. It is thorough in its instruction. Its presentation is creative and high energy, and it will get you and your kids moving at the same time. You will have everything at your fingertips and will most likely learn a lot about nutrition and exercise yourself. It would be an especially good choice for a co-op or other group setting.

Product review by Jennifer Loucks, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, April 2008

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