September 2017 … More than 140 children in kindergarten through second grade will become reporters this fall as part of the Hearty Kids Initiative, a new Healthy NewsWorks pilot project focused on heart health.
Hearty Kids will expand on the Healthy NewsWorks program’s work with student reporters in grades 3 to 8. The program this year is marking its 15th school year of helping students develop accurate and relevant health publications and other types of media for their fellow students, families, and the wider school community
The Hearty Kids Initiative will start in seven classrooms at two Independence Mission Schools in Philadelphia—St. Martin de Porres Catholic School and St. Veronica Catholic School.
The project will be integrated into the schools’ established student health newspaper programs. The 5- to 7-year-old reporters will gather facts about heart health using newly created Healthy NewsWorks lessons and activities. Working with their classroom teachers and Healthy NewsWorks staff, the young reporters will help write and illustrate a “junior” section for their school newspapers. They will also promote their newspapers in their schools and share them with their families.
The older student journalists who staff the main editions of each school’s health newspaper will serve as mentors and role models for younger students.
“This project is a milestone for Healthy NewsWorks,” said Marian Uhlman, Healthy NewsWorks executive director. “We’re looking forward to having younger children participate in the reporting process and help build heart health understanding within our school communities.”
The logo for the project was designed by Andrea Ritter, who participated in the Healthy NewsWorks program at East Norriton Middle School and is now entering ninth grade at Norristown Area High School. She has developed other logos and illustrations for the Hearty Kids initiative and drew the cover illustration for the 2017 Healthy NewsWorks book.
Also in the coming weeks, student health journalists in grades 3 to 8 will start learning reporting basics, including how to research, report, and write news stories. A number of Healthy NewsWorks schools will launch their program with “shoe-leather camp,” allowing the reporters to get a fast start with four to six lessons in a two-week period.
The Hearty Kids Initiative is supported in part by a generous grant from The Edna G. Kynett Memorial Foundation.