CES preschool visits Research and Extension Center

Published 11:44 am Monday, October 1, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Clanton Elementary First Class Pre-K students took a field trip to the Chilton Research and Extension Center to learn about the projects there and enjoy agricultural-related activities.

Several stations were set up, each teaching the students a different concept or offering a fun activity.

Pre-K Auxiliary teacher Emily Doucet had worked on coordinating the event.

“I like for our program to be able to go anywhere local in the county and expose them to all of the wonderful things that our county has to offer,” Doucet said.

The program tries to have a field trip or large in-school event once a month.

The center presented a good opportunity for a free event. Some presentations also tied in to what students had been learning in the classroom.

Apples grown on-site were used as a stamp in an art project to create a painting of a tree.

“We just got done talking about apples as a unit (study),” Doucet said.

She said the activity creating bird feeders helped the students with developing fine motor skills and learning about the world around them.

Sara Watson, Chilton County Extension Office SNAP-Ed educator, focused on the importance of drinking water and demonstrated how much sugar is in popular drink options.

“To get the parents involved, we also have water recipes that are infused with different fruits,” Watson said. “It gives it a little bit different taste, so they aren’t just drinking water. It makes it a little more fun for them, too.”

Water chilled with orange slices in it was available for attendees to try. Other recipes featured a variety of fruit, such as watermelon and blueberries.

Watson said while fruit juice does have health benefits, it also has sugar.

“You have to keep that in moderation,” Watson said.

Watson also encouraged the students to exercise. Students spun a carnival-style wheel to choose which exercise they would try.

Lisa McCullough of the Chilton Research and Extension Center said this was the first time the center had hosted an event for the preschool students.

She said tractor rides took students into the fields where research on fruits and vegetables was being conducted.

Each project is for a different Auburn University professor. Projects work with everything from kiwis to peanuts.

Doucet said the farm tour gave the students an opportunity to see how some of the food they eat at school is grown.

Students also learned about sun protection and protection from fire ants.

Staff from the Chilton Research and Extension Center and the Chilton County Extension Center came together to determine the topics that would be best to highlight. Most of the activity stations highlighted Extension Office programs.