In a semester, CMS students will go through approximately 6.5 million cartons of milk. Students at Ballantyne Elementary are part of the milk-minded bunch, drinking approximately 400 cartons daily. The students celebrated their enthusiasm for the beverage in a day of activities for World School Milk Day.
Cafeteria Manager Judy Davis put together a schedule packed with fun activities, including a milking contest, a lesson in farming from a fourth-generation farmer, milk mustache pictures, yogurt samples, book readings and a door-decorating contest. Davis got the idea to celebrate Milk Day from a list serve for cafeteria managers. She spent weeks lining up sponsors and pulling resources to create a fun learning experience for students.
One of Davis’ resources was the Southeast Dairy Association’s Assistant Director of School Programs Dottie Ryan, RD, LDN. Ryan was able to bring local farmer Cameron Eaker to speak with students about farming and milk production. Students learned about the work ethic of farmers, including getting up at 4:30 a.m., not having days off, and being responsible for animals and land. The fifth-grade students took the stage and helped their younger schoolmates learn the health benefits of drinking milk.
“We used the concept of a ‘bone bank’ to explain the benefits of milk,” Ryan said. “It helps them understand that as kids, we build the bones we want as adults.”
“I learned that milk has vitamins and gives you calcium,” kindergartener Kaleb Parker said. “Our bones need calcium and we need the milk to get strong.”
Kindergartener Christian Griffin sees a different benefit to drinking milk.
“I drink lots of milk every day. It’s my workout,” Griffin said. “Grown-ups and kids can do it for their workout.”
Kindergarten and first-grade students continued their day with a story about the adventures of Lady Holly the Cow. Lady Holly taught them where milk comes from, the different products made from milk and the nutritional value of milk products. The students were able to squeeze in a little more fun with a milking contest to help them understand the milk-production process.
Next week, students will learn which classroom won the grand-prize of the door-decorating contest—cake and, of course, ice cream!
According to the Southeast Dairy Association, milk provides nine essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D, B12, riboflavin and niacin. Seventy-two percent of the calcium available in the U.S. food supply comes from milk and other dairy foods. To learn more about the benefits of milk, visit the Southeast Dairy Association website.