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Samuel Merritt College Students Help Kids Learn More About the Power of the Brain

Samuel Merritt College

For Immediate Release
December 11, 2008

Samuel Merritt College Students Help Kids Learn More About the Power of the Brain

(OAKLAND, Calif., December 11, 2008) To improve learning outcomes in life science, national and state education departments are recommending schools to include various science topics, like neuroscience, in their classrooms. However recent studies show the limited exposure to neuroscience for children may be due in part to a teacher's lack of training and expertise in the subject.

More than three dozen occupational therapy students from Samuel Merritt College (SMC) will be interacting with 160 third, fourth and fifth graders from Cleveland Elementary School, on Friday, December 12. The goal is to help young children learn more about the importance and function of the brain.

This unique program, `Brain Awareness,' is an interactive program designed by Dr. Barb Puder, Assistant Professor of Basic Sciences at SMC to introduce students and teachers about the nervous system. The program also provides emphasis on the curricular elements required by the Oakland Unified School District.

“The limited exposure to neuroscience for children may be due in part to a teacher's lack of training on the subject,” says Dr. Puder. “This lack of information may result in some children making unhealthy choices which affect their brain health and safety.”

To help spark the children's interest about the brain, the occupational therapy students will set-up several hands-on activity stations which include a human brain station, games and activities.

“The program will expose the young students to new experiences and enhance their learning about the organ system, “ says Cleveland Elementary School Principal Mia Settles. “It will also instill some responsibility and ownership for the kids.”

The Brain Awareness program is also designed to help youth develop skills, knowledge and community awareness.

“This is fun and age appropriate way to offer students a chance to learn life skills outside of the classroom,” says Dr. Puder. “By increasing their awareness about the brain, students, teachers and community members may prevent unnecessary brain damage and injury and incorporate behaviors which promote brain health into their lifestyle.”

Samuel Merritt College, founded in 1909, has been educating health professionals for nearly 100 years. The College offers an undergraduate degree in nursing; master's degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, physician assistant; and doctoral degrees in physical therapy and podiatric medicine. For more information about Samuel Merritt College and the Basic Science program visit the College's website, www.samuelmerritt.edu.

Interview and Photo Opt:

On December 12, Friday, Occupational Therapy students will be interacting with elementary students showing human brains, conducting memory games, and other activities.
Interviews with SMC faculty and students will be made available from 10:00 am to 11:30am.
Interviews will be held the Cleveland Elementary School auditorium/gym located at 745 Cleveland Street, Oakland.

For more information please contact:
Elizabeth Valente
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations
510.725.7980 cell
EValente@SamuelMerritt.Edu