SRF036: Implementation of a Student-Led Fitness and Nutrition Program at a Montessori Elementary School With CBPR

Yue Gao; Tiffany Kindratt, PhD, MPH; Nora Gimpel, MD; Philip Day, PhD


Context: In Texas, 33% of children are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is linked to adult obesity and a litany of other health issues. Many interventions have established health curriculum programs in traditional public schools to help children maintain healthier weights and lifestyles, but little literature exists for their use in Montessori education. In light of this, UT Southwestern partnered with a Montessori network to meet the health needs of their community.
Objective: To implement fitness and nutrition curricula adherent to Montessori principles and evidence-based practices, and determine avenues for improvement based on lessons learned.
Human Subjects Review: Non-regulated research.
Design: Cross-sectional needs assessment was conducted for health concerns of Lumin community. Stakeholders collaborated to develop fitness and nutrition curricula for elementary students, while other components (ex. health fairs, parent education classes) were also incorporated.
Setting: Lumin Education is a network of Montessori public elementary schools that serve mostly Hispanic low-to middle-income families in Dallas, Texas. All participants are Lumin Education students from 2 campuses. Program implemented in partnership with UT Southwestern Department of Family and Community Medicine.
Intervention/Instrument: Fitness and nutrition curricula based on Coordinated Approach to Child Health curriculum, adjusted to reflect Montessori principles.
Main Outcome Measures: Pre- and post-tests of fitness ability and nutrition knowledge to measure program impact. Evaluation of all records and interviews of key stakeholders to assess program process and to explore areas of refinement.
Anticipated Results: This program has received positive feedback from the Lumin community. Curricula follows Montessori principles by avoiding disruption of self-directed learning, giving students a choice of fitness activities, and incorporating discussions and hands-on tasks into nutrition lessons to spark students’ interests. This effort has faced challenges, such as issues with consistent communication between stakeholders, garnering community interest for secondary program activities, and recruiting student volunteers.
Conclusions: This partnership based on CBPR practices has been able to implement and sustain a fitness and nutrition program that follows Montessori principles, and relies mainly on faculty and student volunteer contributions.
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Jack 11/21/2020

this is terrific. nice work. thanks for sharing this with NAPRG. look forward to learning more.

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