Students in Mary Haldeman's class at P.T. Coe Elementary School bubble with enthusiasm as they think up the best words to describe purple grapes as they munch the cool, sweet treats.
"Super juicy," shouts out one girl. "Yummy in my tummy," calls out another.
Haldeman, a physical education specialist, asks the third-grade students what rhymes with delicious. "Nutritious!" they clamor.
'The children in Haldeman's class were treated with bags of purple grapes provided through state and federal funding, in conjunction with the school's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program (SNAP-Ed). The SNAP-Ed program is provided in part through UACE and the Nutrition Network in the Department of Nutritional Sciences.
"It's been a godsend," Haldeman said of the fresh fruits and veggies the school now receives, along with SNAP-Ed educational programming. It is part of the US Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
"The P.T. Coe Elementary School, in a low-income Phoenix neighborhood, incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables into the curriculum. Some of the children have had limited exposure to fruits and vegetables," said teacher Lisa Garcia.
Grapes, cauliflower, kiwi, peppers and other fresh items are used in math and language arts lessons before kids get to eat them.
"It enhances our language program and reading and writing," Garcia said as her class of first-grade students wrote sentences describing the grapes.
Leslie Machado, 6, thought carefully about what she liked most about the grapes she was devouring. "They are good and they are so good for you," she said.
The program also encourages increased physical activity. Haldeman, whose classroom is decorated with colorful SNAP-Ed posters of fruits and vegetables, incorporates stretching and moving with the nutrition education.
"My kids just love coming to class," she said.