It Worked For Me: Children's Clinics

Clearwater, FL – The field trips that every elementary school class takes are always fun and interesting. Whether it is to the aquarium, the zoo, or the museum, the students are bound to learn a lot.

But, what if the class trip is to the local health foods store? To some, that may not seem like an exciting place to go to learn. But, to the children that have had the privilege of taking a tour through Nature’s Food Patch, Clearwater, FL, seem to have enjoyed themselves.

According to Cheryl Rosselle, marketing director at Nature’s Food Patch, the Kid’s Store Tours, as they call it, started around 2011 when a local elementary school class was looking for a field trip opportunity. With additional requests coming from local home school groups, the store decided to make the Store Tours a regular occurrence.

“Our vision is to serve and inspire our community in order to build a healthier world,” says Rosselle. “By offering these Store Tours and other events for kids, we are working to make this vision a reality.”

After the first tour welcomed 35-40 kids into their store, they realized that they needed to make smaller groups during the tours. The store put a limit of roughly 15 kids for each tour, allowing them to “focus more on the individual kids and all of their questions…and they have lots of questions,” Rosselle says.

Each child is made to feel as if they are “part of the team,” as Rosselle puts it, during the tour. They are each given a name tag sticker that says “Nature’s Food Patch Team Member” and a mini clipboard with different activities for them to complete throughout the tour, depending on their age. In addition to being taken around the perimeter of the store, the kids are shown the dairy cooler and the cardboard box crusher, which Rosselle says “gives (them) an opportunity to talk about recycling.”

Nature’s Food Patch was able to create more clinics with the addition of their new community room, named PaTcH wOrKs. Since January, the store has added Toddler Tune Time, DIY crafts for kids, family yoga, puppet shows, story time with music and crafts and kids cooking classes.

According to Rosselle, the store may combine the tours and cooking classes. The kids would have to shop for items a recipe calls for while being shown how to select the best product. The groceries would be taken to PaTcH wOrKs where the kids would be shown how to cook everything.

Rosselle is a supporter of the events herself, saying that “Creating arts & crafts, cooking, singing or creating music, dancing, stretching, exercising, learning…all of these things are needed for a healthy lifestyle for kids and grownups alike.” WF

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2015 (online 6/2/15)