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White Plains Third-Graders Create Healthy Eating Murals

A third-grade student from Highview Elementary School in Greenburgh shows her mural. Photo Credit: Contributed by ArtsWestchester
Students at Highview Elementary School in Greenburgh show their murals. Photo Credit: Contributed by ArtsWestchester
Gary Mastrangelo, principal, Highview Elementary School, center, with Karen Greenspan, Board of Trustees and Education Committee, ArtsWestchester right, and Miriam Bernabei, director of arts, music and special programs in Greenburgh schools. Photo Credit: Contributed by ArtsWestchester
Miriam Bernabei, director of Aats, music and special programs in the Greenburgh Central School District, talks with a student. Photo Credit: Contributed by ArtsWestchester

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Third-grade students from schools in Yonkers, White Plains, Mount Vernon and Greenburgh created imaginative, thoughtful works of art that incorporate the five food groups as part of an innovative mural project organized by ArtsWestchester.

Westchester County schools participating in the program were: Highview Elementary School, Greenburgh, with artist Ann Ladd; Yonkers Montessori Academy, with artist Miguel Cossio; Church Street Elementary School, White Plains, with artist Mie Sato; and Holmes Elementary School, Mount Vernon, with artist Pedro Nel Ospina. More than 320 students participated.

Students used paint, colorful paper collage and recycled food packaging to create collaborative murals as part of this nutrition education through the arts program. While methods varied in each of four participating schools, the outcome was the same – engaging education about healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and the creation of lasting works of art in each school’s lunchroom. The art will serve as a reminder for future students to keep healthy nutrition at the forefront of their lifestyles.

During each residency, professional artists from ArtsWestchester’s teaching directory teamed with classroom teachers and a registered dietitian. A cross-curriculum approach was used, integrating science concepts with themes of increased physical activity and healthy eating concepts, and such art concepts as color and design choices, measuring, scaling and the preservation of art. Students were taught to make healthy breakfasts and lunches together, tracking their fruit and vegetable intake in a diary, fostering math skills and furthering a sense of empowerment.

ArtsWestchester’s nutrition mural project was made possible with major support from The Aetna Foundation with additional support from Stop & Shop, The Staples Foundation and Atlantic Bank.

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