Fostering good eating habits and providing healthy, nutrient-dense food choices are some of the most important tasks in raising young children. By teaching and encouraging healthy eating, you are giving your child important tools for a lifetime of healthy living.
One of the extracurricular programs we offer at Eden Prairie Montessori supports these values and creates an early foundation for a healthy lifestyle- this program is called Embrace Health for Kids.
Embrace Health is a great way to introduce children to the fun-filled world of Health. This program is designed to give each child a good feeling about themselves, by building their self-confidence. Through games and music this class teaches kids and parents how to eat in 3’s for optimum health by stabilizing blood sugar. We engage the child with interactive games to demonstrate the power of thoughts/ habits to embrace health in all areas of our life. This class is designed to work with toddlers, preschoolers and school age children at developmentally appropriate skill levels. Each class is 30 minutes and encourages developing a healthy life-style made fun.
This week we are excited to share our interview with Teresa Brenke, the owner of Embrace Health!
Please introduce and tell us a little about yourself…
Hi! My name is Teresa Brenke and I am the owner of Embrace Health at the Center for Leadership Development. I have my business degree at St Mary’s University and my PCC in life/health coaching thru IPEC. I am an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner thru IPEC, as well as an Ace certified Personal Trainer, and received my nutrition certification through Venice Nutrition. I have owned my own fitness and nutrition company since 1993, and in those 24 years I have worked with over 500,000 children, 10,000 teachers and 2,000 different facilities.
Who or what inspired you to start teaching Health and how long have you been doing this?
I was inspired to start in fitness and nutrition when I was in college and gained an extra 30 pounds. I thought I was eating healthy and exercising but I couldn’t keep the weight off. This really affected my self confidence and made me second guess my entire career path. I realized how complicated nutrition can be, and the passion I had for teaching others began. After I finished college I started my fitness and nutrition business and I have been going strong ever since!
What age groups do you work with at Eden Prairie Montessori?
I work with children ages 2 and up.
What do you love about being a Health Teacher?
I love seeing how the children’s brains are like sponges and it doesn’t matter how complex the subject is as long as the material is presented in a fun way they will be completely engaged. This is so exciting to watch their faces light up when learning about vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, names of muscles, and how to create healthy thoughts. All of these subjects are not exciting for most adults but we pride ourselves in presenting the material at the children’s level and in a way they won’t even realize they are learning.
Please tell us what goes on in your Embrace Health class and what a typical day might look like?
Embrace Health class focuses on teaching nutrition, exercising and healthy thoughts through high energy games, children’s music, mascots, props and interactive stories. Each class starts with a brief lesson (5 min) about nutrition or healthy thoughts. The next 25 minutes includes LOTS of movement with games and music teaching the children teamwork, self-confidence, independence, coordination skills, eye/hand coordination, and how to understand our thoughts to stay focused. It is 30 minutes of action packed activities to completely engage your child.
Most of us know how to eat healthy and exercise but have trouble implementing this. This implementation process starts with our thoughts which is behavior modification. I am most proud of our behavior modification piece because it teaches the children to listen to their words to see how it affects our choices either with food, exercise or any choices we make throughout our day. We have about 60,000 thoughts per day and only about 1/3 come out in words. Our thoughts have power! And most of the time those thoughts are buried in your head where only you know what is being said. My goal is to invite your child to tune into those thoughts, love eating healthy and exercising so when they grow up they see it as part of what they do without thinking about it.
What is the most fun part of your job?
Watching the children enjoy life with the simplest things. As adults we get lost in our fast paced world and forget to find the joy in simplicity.
Can you tell us about some of the changes you notice in the kids since the Embrace Health classes started?
The children love sharing how their eating and exercise habits are changing. They also discover what they are thinking is ok/valid and worth expressing. We encourage your child to build their self-confidence by allowing them to explore their knowledge and physical abilities each week in class. After a month of classes children really get comfortable with knowing they are allowed to express themselves thru movement, thoughts and healthy choices. The one thing I hear the most from parents is: how they love how enthusiastic their child is about sharing what they know from our class.
What do the kids love about your class?
The kids love the opportunity to really express themselves in this very active class. We encourage creative movement and lots of energy where they are rewarded with a thirsty squirt or sprinkler (spray of water) if they are hot and sweaty! Most of the day in the classroom the children are encouraged to move slow and sit (for the safety of others and to learn how to focus in the classroom) but in our class we want them to have the opportunity to move freely and get the wiggles out! They love the music, games and stories encouraging this movement.
What’s an interesting fact about you that not a lot of people know?
I have twin daughters who are graduating from high school this year! It is such a blessing to be a mom of 3 children! I have learned so much from my children and the children I have taught throughout the 24 years in business.
To learn more about Teresa Brenke and the Embrace Health for Kids program…
please visit their website: http://www.cldcoaching.com/embrace-health-kids-program