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Learning Story on Cooking in Our Three’s Classroom

We noticed that one of the most popular areas in our room was the kitchen center. The children would come in to the room and quickly wash their hands because they wanted to pretend to cook breakfast for their friends and teachers.

It was fascinating to listen to the children while “cooking”. Josephine told her friend Sairose “I’m making eggs and fruit because we have to have healthy food for breakfast”. Cameron wanted to make his teachers coffee because “grownups   drink coffee and kids drink milk”

Parent volunteers came to our room to do some ‘real cooking.’ Our invitation to cook was overwhelming….We had our parent chefs prepare and cook with the children. They made smoothies, sandwiches, and seasonal cooking foods like Christmas cookies, Halloween cakes, apple pies and pumpkin pies. David’s Mom came in and cooked quesadillas and explained to us the different as a culture the variety of places and times and different ingredients they used in Mexico.

We found that when the children participated in a cooking activity, it transcended through all parts of our day: pretend cooking in the kitchen, baking birthday cakes with wood chips and acorns in our outdoor kitchen, making tacos and cookies at the play-dough table.

Cooking with children has numerous benefits.  It lays the foundation for basic math concepts, such as measurement, volume size, seriation, and counting skills. It is also instills healthy eating habits. We have been teaching the students about scientific concepts such as solids, liquids and gasses. The students were mesmerized when they witnessed the cheese and butter turning from a solid to a liquid!

Children strengthen their fine motor skills through cutting, pouring and scooping. They develop a basic understanding of math concepts like understanding volume through measuring ingredients.

Our cooking activities encompass all of the components of our Reggio philosophy : parent involvement, bringing home activities to the classroom, multiculturalism(learning what other cultures eat) Children are more likely  try different ingredients and foods if they experience them at an early age. At first, Addison did not want to try the quesadillas because she said she didn’t like ‘spicy’ foods but when she took a little bite, she loved it and even asked for seconds!

We look forward to more cooking adventures in our 3’s classroom! In March, we are going to cook some dishes native to Ireland, such as Irish soda bread and potatoes. In April,  Mimi’s mom  will come and demonstrate and cook  some dishes from Australia with the children!