The salmon are running at Helen Gordon Child Development Center. Students in the Starfish classroom are learning about Oregon’s state fish through a project called Harvest for Healthy Kids. The project, led by parent, Betty Izumi, teachers Rachel Sticka and Mayumi Finley, and cook, Deb Sensenbach, involved two days of salmon-related learning activities. “We have been working on this idea for a while now so it is exciting to see it come to fruition,” says Dr. Izumi.
The preschoolers were introduced to salmon skin, delighted in handling the slippery salmon roe, and shown how the eggs are buried in gravel at the bottom of the river. The children then assisted Helen Gordon cooks with the salmon preparation and enjoyed a salmon lunch. Yes, they loved it!
Dr. Betty Izumi is a registered dietitian and assistant professor in the PSU School of Community Health. She is the principal investigator and coordinator of the Harvest for Healthy Kids grant project that was conceived to create curriculum about sustainability, food and health for early childhood providers. The Harvest for Healthy Kids curriculum is aligned with early learning standards. Download the free curriculum at the website: harvestforhealthykids.org.
The fish were purchased from Iliamna Fish Co., a community-supported agriculture business located in Portland.
An additional partner in the Salmon project is the University of Alaska Fairbanks Center for Alaska Native Health Research.
“The HGCDC nutrition program strives to cultivate an appreciation for food and where it comes from while providing opportunities for children to become engaged with cooking and food,” says Helen Gordon Director Ellie Justice. “We are delighted to begin a new partnership that aligns so well with these goals.”