I know I’ve delivered a successful lesson when I see my students actively engaged in their learning. I often use multiple modalities in my lessons to engage children's diverse learning styles - my favourites being the integration of music and the Arts.
The Arts have the capacity to reach different aspects of a child's educational development that standard classroom teaching methods are unable to achieve on their own.
Music is my ‘go to’ when I teach young children. I teach my students the days of the week by singing the ‘Days of the Week’ song together. We sing and dance along to the ‘Yummy Vegies’ song to learn about healthy eating. Nothing beats seeing my students’ smiles and hearing them quote that 'vegies give them vitamins to help their bodies grow healthy and strong!'
This fun-ness is backed by evidence-based research that shows that utilising music and the Arts improves student engagement by catering to children’s multiple intelligences, optimising children’s consolidation of their learning more quickly and at a deeper level.
Check out the tips below from Jess, one of our Team's Nutrition and Health Specialists, where she shares how you can harness the power of the Arts in your classroom to help improve your students' nutritional knowledge.
Music is a powerful tool to engage students in their learning. Not only does it help boost students' self-discipline, confidence and engagement, but also enhances brain function and neural pathways (Music Australia Organisation, 2021). Nutrition education can be taught through song - click here to watch a free preview of the 'Munching Crunching Junk Food Monster' song from the Eat Smart B Active® Prep/Foundation program that teaches children about poor health from overeating junk food.
Teaching through music allows students to understand the main message and remember the lyrics of songs (Zoumenou, V., et al., 2015) while making the classroom a fun and engaging environment. Listening to and singing healthy eating songs are shown to be highly effective in improving kids' attitude, knowledge, and practice of nutrition (Ogunsile, S. E., 2020).
Another fantastic reason to use music to educate, is its amazing ability to motivate students to focus while creating a supportive atmosphere and sense of community with peers. This is the foundation of delivering effective nutrition education that helps your students be comfortable to try new health behaviours. You can establish a positive environment in your classroom and stimulate your students’ creativity by allowing them to sing and dance together, clap along, or even bring instruments into the classroom.
Check out these Preppies dancing and being active with The Boogie Woogies Superhero Band's Eat Smart B Active® LIVE in the classroom.
Visual art is another great medium for nutritional education. Teachers can integrate an arts and nutrition lesson together! Why not get your students to draw a still-life 'everyday' food. By getting kids to draw the food, you can have a conversation around 'why do you think this is an 'everyday' food?’
Drawing from children’s curiosity and creativity, another engaging way to teach and consolidate children’s knowledge is through theatre production. What child doesn’t love a production coming to their school? Especially when valuable nutritional information is embedded within catchy songs and relatable characters. Results from the Eat Smart B Active® program showed that theatre production can not only boost kids’ knowledge and attitude about healthy foods, but also improve children’s nutritional behaviours (Bush, R. et al., 2018).
For more help register here for VIP access to our complimentary resources from the evidence-based Eat Smart B Active® program to support you in the delivery of the Health Curriculum - Includes Videos, Songs, Interactive Quiz questions, Worksheets and Printable resources.
Wishing you every success in the classroom.
Selina - BA (Psych) DipEd
Co-Founder | Educator
Jess (BHSc) and Serena (BHSc)
Bush, R., Capra, S., Box, S., McCallum, D., Khalil, S., & Ostini, R. (2018). An Integrated Theatre Production for School Nutrition Promotion Program. Children, 5(3), 35. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9067/5/3/35
Koch, P., Lee, H., & Milstein, R. (2012). “Art & Healthy Living”: Evaluating an Innovative Curriculum That Combines Art and Nutrition Education. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 44(4, Supplement), S23. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2012.03.039
Music Australia Organisation. (2021). Music Education. https://musicaustralia.org.au/discover/music-education/
Ogunsile, S. E. (2020). Effectiveness of Music in Enhancing Nutrition Education Outcomes Among Adolescents. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 53(3), 204-210. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2020.11.001
Nicklas, T., Lopez, S., Liu, Y., Saab, R., & Reiher, R. (2017). Motivational theater to increase consumption of vegetable dishes by preschool children. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 14(1), 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-017-0468-0
Zoumenou, V., Johnson, N., & Ray, D. (2015). Using Music and Dance to Reinforce Nutrition Education Lessons Among Preschoolers. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 47(4). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2015.04.063