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If you chat to any of the Year 5 students at Helena College, you will quickly discover that one of their favourite weekly activities is cooking. The lessons, which take place in the Junior School’s specialist kitchen facilities, were introduced to the Year 5 program a few years ago and have been a sure fire hit with the College’s budding chefs ever since.
Greg Miller, Head of the Junior School, says that the cooking program is more than just about preparing tasty treats – it gives the students chance to learn real life skills that relate directly to several learning areas within the curriculum.
“The lessons give our Year 5 direct experience of working with the concepts they are learning in the classroom. For example, our Year 5s have recently done a maths unit on fractions – what better way to apply that knowledge than measuring out a half a cup of flour?” explains Greg.
Mathematical skills, including units of measure, are just some of what gets applied in the kitchen.
“Science is another area covered by the lessons, through looking at solids, liquids and gasses, as well as the changes that take place when combining, heating or cooling the ingredients they are working with,” says Greg.
Children also learn to write procedures through following steps in a recipe, something that will not only be of benefit when working on science experiments in the future, but also can be applied to narrative forms in writing.
There are also the more obvious links to health studies such as nutrition, food choices, hygiene, and how to safely work with kitchen equipment.
Greg says that an added benefit is that children tend to be more willing to try out a new food or ingredient if they get to cook with it, something that may help picky eaters be a little more adventurous.
The smiles (and concentration) on the faces during every lesson say it all: learning in the kitchen is fun – and quite delicious!