Cooking is a fundamental part of our curriculum. The Reggio Emilia philosophy is one that allows for the children to explore in their environment and learn by experience. Allowing children to cook will promote their lifestyle, and help them to grow up to be healthy adults. Our children are exposed to new foods, which boosts their confidence by allowing them to see what they are capable of cooking. It also provides motivation and curiosity to cook at home.
We are teaching our children not to rely on prepackaged foods, but to become caretakers of their own nutrition.
During our Whole Foods field trip, we were introduced to different Autumn squash and golden beets. This reinforced the topics were are learning in class. It brought the topics such as Fall produce, dyeing with beets, and the varieties of squash to life. We bought some acorn squash and golden beets and brought them back to school to cook them the way the Whole Food’s employees suggested.
Lucky for us, one of our classmates cooked them at home the night before. He was eager to come to school and show his class how to prepare the acorn squash.
We each took a squash and had time to talk about what it looked like, and how we thought we should begin preparing the squash.
Many of us were not familiar with this type of squash, so we were excited to sample the squash that “B” prepared the night before.
After we were done eating, it was time to cook! “B” was in charge of giving directions. We believe in allowing the children to problem solve and work together. Allowing him to take leadership in this activity helped him with the skills needed to give instructions. We want our children to become leaders, but also be able to follow when necessary. Allowing them to work together and help each other provides them skills necessary to be successful in the future.
He told them the first step was cutting open the squash and scooping out the seeds.
One of the children had a hard time scooping hers out, so she asked the rest of the children to tap on the top of her squash as she turned it upside down to help the seeds fall out.
That was not successful, so one of her friends helped her scoop the rest of them out.
The children looked at the seeds and commented on how they looked like pumpkin seeds. This led to a conversation about how these vegetables are all in the same category, which is why they have similar seeds.
“B” took time to walk around and help his friends as they asked for help, all the while making sure that everything was just as he had done the night before.
Once the seeds were out “B” told everyone, “Now we have to put the spices in”. We brought out the cinnamon, and they all smelled it. There were many comments on how “yummy” it smelled.
Cinnamon, salt and pepper were sprinkled on each piece of squash.
Next it was time to add a little touch of butter….
Flip them over……
And now, they were ready for the oven…….
Next up was the golden beets. We were already familiar with the red beets, and now we were eager to taste the sweeter golden beet.
We peeled them, and wrapped them in foil, and then added them in the oven with the beets. They cooked for a little over an hour, and when we were done, we sliced them up and served them.
Many of us loved the golden beets. We were proud of ourselves for trying these unfamiliar foods.
We set up a table in the hallway to offer samples to our friends as they were picked up from school.
It was a success The children were able to prepare and cook foods they were unfamiliar with, which helps them appreciate where food comes from, and also helps them become accustomed to healthy eating.