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Keeping FACS Alive: Nutrition and child care through Extension Services in Montana

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 graduated with the broad field Home Economics Education degree from Montana State University before lights were invented. No, seriously in 1974. I have been fortunate to teach in all aspects of FCS throughout my career. I began teaching at a State Hospital to patients who re-entering society after being hospitalized for emotional issues. I left there a taught in a traditional middle school classroom for a couple of years.
When we moved to North Dakota in the early 80’s I worked with a grant program and worked with a train the teacher nutrition program. I would offer classes for recertification during the summer and the teachers of all levels learned the importance of teaching nutrition in their science programs. We moved to Great Falls in the late 80’s and I was hired as a Pre-School teacher and remained in that position for 19 years.

Nine years ago I was hired as the FCS Extension agent for Cascade County Extension. In my position I teach all aspects of Family and Consumer Science. You are probably familiar with some of my programs such as Powerful Tools for Caregivers, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Strong People Stay Young. I offer Serv-Safe classes twice a year for the county. I am the educator for Cascade County Wellness Program. The element of my job that I enjoy the most is that I work with Early Childhood educators in planning lessons, managing classrooms and interacting with parent by holding workshops three times a year. Fall time is always busy with food preservation and healthy home issues.

I am one of three full time FCS agents in Montana. We have part time FCS agents in most of our counties, many who began by teaching in traditional classrooms. When I introduce myself at presentations I tell them that I am the Cascade County Family and Consumer Science Agent which is a long title for the County Home Ec. Teacher. It always seems to make my position more understandable. We have an intern this summer who will graduate in FCS in a year. She is a great intern and reaffirms that our vocation is safe in the future.

Jona McNamee
Family and Consumer Science Agent
Cascade County Extension
Montana State University

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