Food in Schools STILL Matters:
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Kiddy Cook will not be the only company sighing heavily over recent government advice which calls for headteachers to make sure staff are teaching “the most important missed content” when kids go back to school in September!
If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that children’s education is not all about maths and English! Making learning relevant to real life; plugging in to kids’ interests; and allowing children to be the teacher are all ways we have been doing things differently, and positively, at home during lockdown.
So whilst schools may be asked to ditch art and drama and practical cooking when they reopen in the Autumn term, there are STILL lots of ways that you can make food part of your curriculum, whilst still focussing on the key subjects.
Interdisciplinary teaching can lead to connected learning which prevents the narrow view of food education as being only about ‘healthy eating’. Consider for example;
- A child completing a problem in a maths book can find it abstract, whereas children weighing and measuring ingredients for an easy no cook recipe that can be completed in the classroom are applying their learning.
- Using practical cooking to develop links between food and the primary science curriculum, to help bring science to life and engage children. Use chocolate to study change of state, for example, or eggs to demonstrate the physical properties of liquids and solids, and to show chemical change.
- Recipes provide a great introduction to instructional texts. There are so many interesting words to learn when cooking! Names of ingredients (and where they come from), as well as processes such as whisking, beating and grating. Hearing and seeing these words used within a real-life application, equips kids to better understand and remember words and their meaning.
- Engaging young people in understanding the links between growing food and cooking fresh, seasonal produce. If outdoor space is inaccessible, organisations such as The Potato Council provide a FREE growing kit containing everything you need to grow a successful crop (register with growyourownpotatoes.org,uk). Produce from a schools’ garden can be prepared and cooked by catering staff for children to taste.
- Supporting learners to recognise how interconnected the world is and how this relates to the food that they eat.
Obesity has been identified as an independent risk factor for more severe outcomes and death from Covid-19. We are failing a generation of children if we do not give them access to healthy, affordable food, together with the knowledge and understanding to adopt lifelong habits which better support health and well-being, with the potential to increase attainment and reduce inequality.