One day in class we realized that the children were interested in plums but didn’t really know what they are. Since realizing that, we’ve been investigating plums in our class, learning about where they come from, the color, the fruit group, what you do with it, the taste, how you cut a plum, and when they are in season.
Going off the children’s continued interest in Plums, we dedicated our Friday Cooking Project to create Ina Garden’s Plum Tart. Ina Garten is the host of Barefoot Contessa, a cooking show on the Food Network. Ina Garten is known for making simple dishes from fresh food on her show.
The project began when children showed an interest in learning where food comes from. We ventured to the gardens and discussed the different techniques used for gardening, sizes of gardens, and things you grow in gardens. Then project then morphed into an engaging lesson on how to prepare food. We learned about different pan sizes, how to solve a problem before it even occurs by placing a non-stick agent on the pan before hand, what flour is (concerning texture, taste and why it’s important to baking), and measuring volume. We also hypothesized and tested the differences between ¼ cup of flour and ½ cup of flour.
One of the favorite components of the project was learning how to cut the fruit. We learned to point a knife away from your body when cutting and we examined the seeds and skin of the fruit and discussed what their purpose is for the fruit and brainstormed how we can use these extra components. One of the major unexpected discoveries we uncovered is that plums come in two different colors! The children tasted each color of plum and were able to use their cognitive skills and sense of taste deduct that the plums tasted the same.
These life skills may seem obvious to us, but this activity was a hands-on way for the children to learn responsibility and independence. The children’s curiosity started with questioning where different food comes from, then transformed to gardening applications and skills and the end product was a delicious plum tart that they made themselves!
A great way to practice the Reggio philosophy in your own home is with an activity just like this. While we may not all have gardens in our backyards, but choosing a new recipe to cook with your child, allowing your child to take an active role in grocery shopping for certain items in order to complete a meal, having your child help prepare the meal, and discussing each step along the way. It might surprise you how the children may confuse the fruits and vegetables! It may take longer to reach the final product, but the opportunity to learn with your child is irreplaceable.