For many, when they hear “learning”, they think structured lessons. All the “learning” occurring in the everyday activities of our children is so often overlooked. For me, being able to combine gardening and baking together offers multiple opportunities to be taking advantage of “learning” from an everyday activity.
Here’s a quick look at some of the “Learning” I see happening when I’m in the kitchen with children:
- Demonstrates increasing capacity to follow rules and routines
- Develops and communicates a growing awareness of self as having certain abilities, characteristics, preferences, and rights
- Interacts with one or more children
- Expresses an eagerness to participate in and learn about a widening range of topics, ideas, and tasks
- Applies prior experiences, senses, and knowledge to new learning situations
- Uses basic personal hygiene practices and understands that those practices help to maintain good health
- Matches a number of objects with written numeral
- Understands that numbers have multiple uses
- Identifies problems and proposes ways to solve them
- Observes, describes and investigates changes in materials and cause and effect relationships
- Demonstrates the knowledge and skills needed to perform particular jobs and tasks
- Identifies tools and technology used at home, school and work
- Knows and discusses where some products come from
To start any cooking together, we talk safety, cleanliness and then gather the supplies needed (includes tools, recipe and ingredients). We then discuss things like: how to sit/stand so all could be involved; how to count as we measure (not until pouring or adding to mix); and review the different tools for purpose of usage. The real engagement happens once we actually start baking.
As each item is added to the bowl/pan we: looked at it’s texture; smell and/or taste; talk about where or how it grows; color; shape; past experiences with; etc. As we continue we discuss the changes as each new item is added – why changed, how changed, etc.
Whenever possible the children pour, mix, et. as we work through the recipe. Turns are taken with awareness of the different abilities for participation.
All done prepping and into the oven, then everyone helps with clean-up putting everything back where it should be.
Every group I have had here loves time in the kitchen!
With the garden starting to provide a harvest we will be spending even more time in the kitchen. Right now a good bit will be working with the rhubarb harvest.
The bed is lush and producing way more than I can use this year, even with canning, so if anyone would like some for home use please let me know. I’m happy to share.
Rhubarb is an excellent source of many vitamins like C, K, A and B-complex. It is high in dietary fiber and is a good source of calcium. Rhubarb is low in sodium and saturated fat. To get the best nutrition from rhubarb, it is suggested that it be baked or stewed for a long period of time.
Besides using Rhubarb for sauces and jams think quick breads and muffins. Also a healthy side dish when cooked with apples and oranges sprinkling with cinnamon and/or ginger. This is a nice change up with pancakes or waffles.
Tomorrow I’ll post a couple of separate posts of recipes we are baking up with the 2017 rhubarb harvest.