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Brookside Students Learn Healthy the Hands-On Way

The five senses were in gear Wednesday morning at Brookside Elementary School in Yorktown, when some first-grade students tasted, smelled and touched food, and listened and watched as Chef Carol Durst-Wertheim created tasty treats right in front of their eyes.

Durst-Wertheim came to the school as part of the Let’s Move campaign started by Michele Obama—and more specifically, she came as a part of the Bring Chefs to Schools initiative of the program.

Wednesday’s visit from a chef was the culmination of several efforts by the school to teach the students about healthy eating habits. Almost all of the foods used by Durst-Wertheim during the lesson were from Brookside’s own garden. During the visit, students aided Durst in concocting a vinaigrette dressing that would dress the salads for all the students on salad day, which takes place on Friday. The students learned all about healthy ways of eating, were introduced to some vegetables and herbs they had never heard of before, and even did some math and fractions to figure out ratios for the vinaigrettes.

Julia Galietti already has an appetite for cooking, but was excited to see how to make something different.

“I know how to make my own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” Galietti said, pronouncing that she loved to cook in the kitchen with her mom. “I’m going to make this when I get home.”

Foley said the students seemed to really enjoy their special visitor, and that it was incredible how much they were learning in one lesson about healthy eating.

“They’re learning everything from what a chef does, from how to work together to make something, how to take turns and then what a vinaigrette is,” she said. “It’s really pulling everything together, it pulls together all the different lessons we teach in the first grade.”

For Durst-Wertheim, an outside chef who took the pledge last year on the lawn of the White House to help bring healthy eating to schools said the best way to teach kids about healthy eating is to just let them do it.

“By letting them do it themselves and learn hands on you’re giving them a tool, you’re giving them lessons and tools so they can make choices that they’ll have for the rest of their lives,” she said.

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