Shrewsbury’s new Parker Road nurse helps kids stay healthy
By Joan Goodchild, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – As the school year gets started at Parker Road Preschool in Shrewsbury, inevitably some students will need assistance with cuts, scrapes, bellyaches – and just a little TLC. But, this year, they will see a new face in the nurse’s office.
Kristin Stewich, who until this year has been working part-time at Oak and Sherwood middle schools, is now the new full-time nurse at Parker Road. Stewich, who has been in nursing for almost two decades, worked for many years at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It was when her children were students at Spring Street School that she decided to try school nursing as a career.
“I got to know the school nurse at Spring Street, and she mentioned to me how school nursing was great for moms. So, I subbed as a school nurse for a few years and I just loved it. I loved working with the kids and the flexibility of working when my kids were in school.”
After five years working part-time in the town’s middle schools, a retirement in town gave Stewich the opportunity to go full-time this year at Parker Road. She said she plans to incorporate her love of health and fitness into her role with the preschool.
“I’m passionate about health, and I love to run marathons,” Stewich explained. “I’m trying to bring those two parts of my life together here.”
Last year, Stewich spearheaded an effort at the middle schools to get students involved in the President’s Challenge: a 10-week program with a new fitness or nutritional goal to reach each week. More than 100 students participated in the effort, Stewich said.
At Parker Road, Stewich is already brainstorming ways to get the younger students interested in eating right and moving. She said one idea she is hoping to get off the ground later in the school year is creating a school garden, in which students would help with planting and growing, as well as using the food for classroom cooking projects.
“A lot of that would be in line with the preschool curriculum of learning about shapes and colors. This population is really still forming their ideas about food,” she said. “If you can reach a 3- or 4- or five-year-old, you can really influence the choices that they make. That’s really what I’m excited about here.”
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