Our mission at Pono is to guide our students in becoming balanced human beings. Dr. Lucia Birkenfeld, or “Dr. B,” is a dentist who recently visited Pono and helped the children understand the importance of keeping our bodies in balance.
Dr. B asked the children to stand on one leg and try to keep their balance. Then, she invited them to try it with a partner and see if it was easier to stay balanced. She then encouraged the children to think about what they need to do to keep their bodies in balance. Dr. B asked the students if they knew the meaning of the word doctor and explained to them that it means “teacher.” Dr. B believes it is important to view doctors as teachers who can help us understand and care for our whole bodies. Taking care of our teeth is one important aspect of this. We need to have healthy teeth and gums to keep the rest of our body in balance.
The students were especially interested in illustrations of bacteria that Dr. B had brought in. She explained that the pictures showed what the bacteria would look like under a microscope. Seeing the bacteria that are found in our mouths is good motivation to brush and floss! Later, Dr. B invited the students to the chalkboard, and Olivia, Zoë, and Sulaf drew some of the bacteria. Olivia felt very inspired by this activity and exclaimed to Dr. B, “I want to be a scientist!”
The children and Dr. B looked through a magazine she had brought in that showed children around the world eating various kinds of food. They discussed the different types of food our bodies need and talked about what they enjoy eating. Some of them may have been surprised when Dr. B shared that she loves to eat gummy bears! Dr. B stressed the importance of taking the time to really chew our food. We should also remember to eat a balanced diet and of course, to brush our teeth after eating.
Dentistry is hands-on work, and Dr. B brought in a set of model teeth for the children to examine. The students all had a turn “brushing” the teeth. Roly especially enjoyed this and made sure the teeth were extra clean!
Thank you, Dr. B, for helping our Pono students stay balanced!
Dr. Birkenfeld is a dentist at Dentistry for Health, located at 120 E. 56th Street, NYC.