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Keeping FACS Alive: Getting kids into cooking, nutrition and sewing from middle school to high school in NY

promoting-facs-guideThis summer Learning ZoneXpress has been asking teachers how they are keeping FACS Alive in their classrooms and schools. We were thrilled with the response and are happy to share the stories. We would love to hear from you! Help us spread the awareness of FCS in the classroom today and share your story with us. Long live “Home Ec”!

I am a FACS teacher at Blind Brook Middle/ High School in Rye brook, NY. I am the only FACS teacher in our district. All of my teaching focuses on Life Skills. In grade 6 we learn how to read Nutrition Labels, and then spend time in our kitchens preparing healthy snacks. I am proud to report all my students try veggies and fruits and other healthy food choices, they had refused to try at home. Discussing and then experiencing Farm to Table eating is a strong message to these students as well. We also learn how to be “Warm and Fuzzy” and sew a “Warm Fuzzy” project. The students learn threading and knotting, and some beginning sewing stitches. The use of ALL their fingers (not only their thumbs) is difficult for many at first, but a skill worth achieving. We also learn to sew on buttons, and finish with “Sock Babies” which we donate to a local Psychiatric Children’s Hospital.

Moving on to Grade 7, we begin with a comprehensive unit on Nutrition and how what we eat affects our bodies and learning capabilities. I have a degree in Bariatric Education, and it is very useful in understanding and teaching about how obesity affects us now as tweens and teenagers and later in our lives. We then spend time in our kitchens learning to cook Breakfast foods using our new knowledge of healthy choices. Just about all of my students enjoy the “new” preparations, and switch to whole grain products, and enjoy them! We then learn how to make patterns on the computer and applique, using sewing techniques acquired in the 6th Grade. Finally, we learn to use sewing machines to pull all our skills together into a beautiful pillow to take home and enjoy. Students return to tell me in their 20’s that that still have their pillows!

At the High School level I teach Culinary Arts. We explore foods from around the world and from the United States. We learn Knife Skills, and how to use a variety of kitchen equipment. My ultimate goal is to make my students totally comfortable in the kitchen, and be able to prepare healthy meals on their own. This life skill will make for healthier adults, as it is a fact that cooking our own foods, seeing what goes into them, makes for healthier lifestyles.

I know I make a difference in the lives of my students. I will continue my quest to teach my students to be able to make healthier choices, and take care of personal needs for a lifetime.
Jane Romm, MS, BCBE

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