My students live in a rural village in Alaska. They are Iñupiaq natives and their families survive on subsistence living--hunting, fishing, and gathering. The culture of subsistence changes with the seasons, from caribou and moose to trout to herring to smelts.
Like most villages in Alaska, there is a high rate of alcohol and substance abuse.
Suicide attempts are common. The literacy rate is low and most kindergarten students begin school 2 years behind the norm in terms of their readiness for school. The drop-out rate is high.
Sadly, many of our young children have many cavities. Starting with our pre-school students we want to encourage good dental hygiene by allowing time after breakfast and lunch--as well as the equipment to brush their teeth.
Our pre-school and kindergarten students will receive directed instruction, as well as the time to refine these good habits.
Our older students need less instruction, but they will still benefit from the time and access to equipment.
While the children in our village do receive regular visits from the dental staff at our local clinic, good dental hygiene requires effort to build a life habit that will endure.
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