I want to spend a few moments today considering the merits of the humble kitchen as a classroom. More specifically, today I am going to use literacy as a starting point.
Typically the kitchen is a place for social gatherings. No matter how small your kitchen, if you’re cooking when guests visit, it’s where everyone communes. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the most inhabited room in most houses. I suppose that is our first link to literacy!
Simple socialising and verbal interaction is a form of literacy.
As a teaching professional I often consider how my own subject specialism can be combined with others (the technical term is “cross curricular”) and my goodness, the links between food / cookery and other subjects is endless. At the school I teach in we link our projects to historical periods including a Mediaeval banquet re-enactment. In another project we learn about other cultures and practice language skills in the setting up of international cafes which form the basis for bi-lingual role plays and the making and selling of delicious international delicacies. We use the wonder of the physical and chemical changes that take place in food preparation and cooking to help explain scientific processes such as coagulation and gelatinisation, caramelisation and dextrinisation to name but a few. Not to mention the endless links that can be made to numeracy and literacy.
So this got me to thinking about things at home.
As a parent, I often feel a bit lost about how I can help and support my children’s learning at home without being too didactic.
Yes, I help with homework and I listen to my children read, but how else can I or do I already help support with learning in less structured ways?
Well, the great news is, if you cook with your child at home, then you are already helping them to apply numerous principals they may have learned more formally with a practical application. Even greater news… Blooms Taxonomy of learning shows that application is halfway up the ladder above knowledge and recall, with creativity as the highest level of learning. What I am trying to say is that cooking can be a part of the learning process allowing children a new context to apply their academic knowledge.
I recently did a brainstorm with Jo Bradley, a colleague who runs a fabulous business helping parents to find fun ways of supporting their children’s learning at home. We came up with such a long list of numeracy and literacy links to cooking that I have had to make this the first in a series of blog posts in which we will demonstrate some ways you can bring literacy and numeracy into family kitchen life. We decided to start with a family challenge. Here’s Jo explaining the concept:
To help you to put this concept into action in the kitchen, I’ve designed a lovely printable fridge chart that you can use to start a family challenge. Click HERE to get your free chart.
Both Jo and I would absolutely love to see how you get on with this and to hear your feedback. Was the chart useful? Are there any other concepts you’d like similar resources for? Show us your completed charts! Who was the champion in your household? I can’t wait to get some feedback on this. Just post your updates in the comments below.
Watch out over coming months for more kitchen literacy, numeracy and science freebies to help you extend your family’s learning in the kitchen. If you sign up for my monthly newsletter at the same time you’ll get links to freebies delivered direct to your inbox without having to go looking for them.