The last two weeks, students have been “cooking in Kindergarten.” We have been looking at various recipes, discussing the components (recipe names, ingredients, tools, steps) and cooking in one of our centres. Last week we make play dough and apple sauce, and this week we tried out some apple fritters.
Cooking provides wonderful opportunities to learn about language, math, and science, healthy living, and culture while also spending family time together. Cooking involves many language components, such as learning new food and kitchen tool names. Various action words (verbs) can be added to ones vocabulary when discussing what a cook is doing with the foods (stir, mix, chop, slice). Following organized steps in a procedure and seeing a recipe gives children exposure to procedural writing, which they will learn about more of in later grades. Looking at various measuring tools and discussing quantities of items, helped support our measurement unit of study which we have been working on this term. As well, we observed and sorted some of the ingredients, according to scientific properties, solids, liquids and how they changed when combined. We also discussed what kinds of energy is needed to making various cooking appliances (peelers, whisks, stoves, pans) work in a kitchen. Cooking traditional foods, strengthens a child’s understanding of culture and heritage. These activities also provides opportunities to discuss safety, so children understand what is safe and unsafe in their own kitchen. All of these are great reasons why cooking at home, even just once a week gives students opportunities to revisit and learn some of these ideas. Finally, cooking with children can be helpful for those picky eaters. They are more likely to try or eat foods they have had a hand in preparing.
In Kindergarten, children can then take these experiences into the various areas of play in the classroom, modelling what they have learned and applying language and understanding at different learning centres. Many compared the stickiness of the batter to the play dough they used. Some said they were making batter using measuring cups in the sensory table. Finally, we hope to give children a chance to model cooking and eating in the drama centre, using cooking props, recipe books and a kitchen of their very own. When one might see a child at work with play dough, teachers see future chefs, bakers, cooks or parents.
If you wish to try out any of our class recipes at home, be sure to check them out on our recipes page, where the are all available. Here is a peak at the apple fritters we made on Thursday.