BROOKFIELD — On a recent snowy day at Congress Park Elementary School, kids in District 102's after-school BASE program made their own first aid kits, enjoyed a healthy snack and learned facts about how to carry their backpack and how much sleep kids need.
The Kid's Health program is part of a new initiative by the district to educate kids and parents about healthy habits.
A representative of Trader Joe's in La Grange brought BASE kids a healthy snack of carrots and cereal bars and spoke to them about the importance of eatting healthy and avoiding junk foods. Also present was a representative of Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, who spoke with kids about why activities like exercise and stretching are important to keeping them healthy.
"It's been a big success—not only with students, but also parents," said Dinna Huneryager, marketing and event planner at Adventist. "Another thing is that we want kids to know the hospital isn't a scary place. We're here to keep them healthy."
Large-sized and colored bandages, which students picked up for their first aid kits were particularly successful in exciting students. So was a hand sanitizer spray, which students were delighted to find could be clipped to a belt loop.
"Sometimes I go to La Grange for pizza and now I can wash my hands when I'm there before I eat," said Bryan Attika, 7, a Congress Park student, of the hand sanitizer.
Other students said they enjoyed the healthy snack and learning about how much sleep they need, as compared to zoo animals. Kids need between eight and ten hours of sleep a night, Huneryager told them. A giraffe only needs a half hour of sleep a day, she said to gasps of surprise.
The kid's health program is making the rounds at four after-school programs in District 102 this month, and Huneryager said she'd like to see the hospital and school partner on more health-related programs and events for students in the future.
"We try and keep it very interactive," Huneryager said. "We teach them things like how to take their pulse."
Huneryager said keeping student's attention can be tough, so she has no problem utilizing the occasional gross out factor to teach them about their bodies.
"Every part of your body has a function and it helps keep us healthy," Huneryager told the kids. "Do you know what mucus is?"
Hands immediately shot up and excited kids began to shout their answer: snot.