Grade 8 students learn curriculum through cooking
By Sue Tiffin
Published Feb. 28, 2019
The Minden Community Food Centre kitchen was bustling last week when Grade 8 students from Archie Stouffer Elementary School joined with Food Centre volunteers to roll up their sleeves and slice, dice, blend and mix with hands-on experience in the kitchen.
The students walk as a class to the culinary arts experience, where they learn components of healthy living supporting the Grade 8 curriculum, including demonstrating an understanding of different types of nutrients and their functions, evaluating personal food choices on the basis of a variety of criteria, including serving size, nutrient content, energy value, ingredients, preparation method and other factors that can affect health and well-being, and identifying strategies for promoting healthy eating within the school, home, and community.
“I think it is a great opportunity to bring our community members together,” said Shannon Blanchard, ASES educator. “We have a wealth of knowledge in our community that our youth can learn from, and why not gain life skills, such as knife handling, reading recipes and following directions, and health and safety while in a community space, such as our local community kitchen.”
At the first lessons, held on Feb. 20 and 21, students were creating fruit smoothies, and learning how to cut different vegetables, including celery, cauliflower and peppers, to be used with a hummus dip.
“I love it, they love it,” said Michelle Kernohan, Grade 8 teacher, who said the class of life skills helped the students learn to take care of themselves and make healthy food choices, so that they might think about how easy it is to make a smoothie rather than reach for a bag of chips when wanting a snack.
In the program, the students will learn about safe cutting techniques and knife safety, about cross contamination and how to avoid it, how to prepare meat safely and safely operate a stove top and oven, prepare soup from scratch, use Canada’s Food Guide to understand a balanced diet, and how to read and understand a food label.
“We love the positive experience that the students are getting in Grade 8,” said Jane Austin, ASES principal. “They are learning about healthy eating habits, budgeting, cooperation skills, cooking skills and community involvement.”
The eight-week program culminates in a banquet meal for their parents that students create, from menu planning, to ingredient shopping to preparation and serving. The program is funded by Feed Ontario, a collaboration between Monsanto and the Ontario Association of Food Banks.