Posted on September 17, 2014
Jack O’Donnell, at age 13 is one of our youngest students. Jack came on one of our teenager’s pizza making courses and he’s written a blog about his experience. Jack now does a regular monthly blog about his baking and cookery exploits. This month he gives his view on the introduction of cookery classes into primary schools...
From this year it's going to be compulsory to teach cooking to primary school children as part of the national curriculum.
The thinking behind this is to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables. Hopefully by giving children this skill they will grow up more healthy by having a better knowledge of cooking techniques, food preparation, the opportunity to try new flavours and also extend this learning by discussing "field to fork" - ie where the food we eat actually comes from. This could be linked into trips to local farms. Also, maybe the children could go "foraging" or picking blackberries to make a crumble?
Previously, children had the opportunity to attend cookery classes but sometimes the cost of these could prove prohibitive. The School of Artisan Food ran classes which were excellent and they were free which was a bonus! It's fun for children to be able to experiment with food (and make a mess!) with their peers...and of course be encouraged to clear away afterwards!
The cookery teaching in schools could be linked to a core subject eg French or Spanish with the opportunity to make and eat a traditional dish. This is a fun way to learn the basics of a topic as well as the food aspect...and if they enjoyed it they could take this knowledge home to try for their parents/carers. Also, if it was linked into healthy eating so that the children think about how much sugar/fat a particular food dish contains, it may encourage more healthy eating and lifestyles as they grow up.
Some of my friends who are at primary school are looking forward to trying out new recipes but some are unsure if the school has good facilities for it to work.
At my secondary school, we now have good cooking facilities, but I do think they could offer more variety to the practical aspects of cooking given the age of the pupils - maybe they are restricted into the requirements of the curriculum?