The murmur of young voices, occasionally punctuated by laughter, echoed in the halls of Englewood’s Swedish Medical Center on April 23, the first day of the hospital’s two-day health fair for third-graders.
About 700 Englewood, Littleton and Sheridan third-graders were expected to attend the annual event this year.
Fair organizers created groups of about 30 children, and each group spent about 15 minutes at each of the seven stations. Each station had a health-related focus, including dental care, nutrition, hearing, respiratory health, hand-washing, radiology and healthy lifestyle.
Students got hands-on experience at most stations. For example, the respiratory health station focused on the damage smoking does to the lungs, and the students got to look close and touch an inflated healthy pig’s lung and a pig’s lung blackened and damaged by tars from tobacco smoke. At another station, third-graders learned how to properly wash their hands.
“This is a fantastic program,” said Lisa Larson, a Bishop Elementary third-grade teacher. “It is great for the kids, because most experiences are hands-on instead of just reading and looking at pictures in a book. This health fair matches the lessons in our curriculum about health.”
All-Souls Catholic School third-grader Joe Murphy said he liked the health fair too.
“It’s kinda cool. I am learning a lot today,” the boy said. “I went to that station about not smoking and I didn’t realize smoking could do that much damage to lungs. Now, I am learning how to do a good job of washing my hands. All this stuff is good to know and it’s a fun way to learn.”
Volunteer Ginny Mayer served as volunteer coordinator and helped keep the groups moving from station to station.
“This is the 31st year we have done the kids health fair at Swedish,” she said. “It was my friend Sally Jo who brought the idea to us from Philadelphia. Each year, volunteers help make the program a success. We have volunteers from the hospital auxiliary, volunteers from some high schools, and most of the staff volunteer their time to present the programs at most of the stations.”
Colorado Academy seniors Emma Grueskin and Darby Shockley were among those who volunteered to staff a station. They were at the healthy lifestyle station, and they used props and skits to emphasize their programs.
The third-graders seemed to like and learn from the skit that the two friends did about the tortoise-and-hare race to emphasize the importance of exercise and a healthy diet