Our Kitchen Garden
Since term 2, both Junior and Middle School students have been involved in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden programme. This programme has engaged students in the planning and planting of two separate garden beds in our school from which to grow crops for cooking! Students have been using this harvest to create a number of amazing meals, developing their life skills along the way!
The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Programme was created as an initiative to promote pleasurable food education in every Australian school with a primary curriculum. The program currently runs in more than 600 schools nationwide!
The Kitchen Garden Programme promotes:
- Fun, flavour and texture through experiences that engage all the senses
- Modelling good food choices without resorting to pyramids or labels of ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’
- Reinforcing techniques repeatedly, providing the confidence to plant seeds or cook simple dishes at home
- Planning menus around the fresh, seasonal produce growing in the garden
- Using ingredients at their peak – seasonal herbs, crisp veggies, fresh fruits
- Expanding culinary horizons, presenting cultural differences as fascinating rather than strange
- Expanding vocabularies for describing foods, flavours, textures, plants and processes
- Coming together at the end of the cooking to share our meal around the table
This program provides a multitude of benefits to our students as well as an additional multisensory way of presenting our curriculum. Students engage in important life skills training throughout the program, including; learning to properly implement tools and utensils in the kitchen and garden and safe food preparation skills.
Students also gain knowledge on healthy eating and simple recipes as well as exposure to new food groups which may assist with their willingness to expand their diet and try new fun foods! Important sequencing and problem solving skills are also expanded on through engagement in a changing routine of garden tasks and varied recipes.
Students are able to practice their social and conversational skills in a shared environment, as well as enhancing their team working skills as they grow, harvest and cook their own food!
Our students in Middle School have shown huge enthusiasm for the program, with each group giving a lot of positive feedback about the ‘delicious food’ and how ‘it is really fun to cook’. They have also shown much accomplishment in their willingness to engage in new and challenging tasks, communicate with good manners in a team environment and get their hands dirty growing their own crops.
We hope to continue our involvement in this program for many years to come and hope to see our current operation grow to include all year levels and allow us to continue to produce a healthy harvest for our students all year long!
If you would like to know more or get involved with the program at the school, please don’t hesitate to contact either Junior or Middle School staff.
By Callum McIntosh