We host many afternoon classes and activities at Little Forest Folk for our 2-5 year olds but one of our favourites is our cookery class. This week we had our first ever Monday cooking class at Chiswick!
Our cookery classes are the perfect complement to a day spent freely playing in the forest. They are a way to be engaged, to learn, to be enthralled, to be social and to have fun!
It's so important in the early years to teach children the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including the importance of a nutritious diet and a healthy attitude to food. We want to ensure our children understand there's so much more to eating than fish fingers and sausages (although what busy mum hasn't turned to these easy fixes every now and then!) and educate their palate through their sense of adventure to try a wide variety of dishes.
We find our cookery classes are the best way to encourage children to try new dishes. They don't seem to be able to resist trying foods they would normally be apprehensive of at home, as they are so proud of having cooked everything themselves. Similarly they are happy to try flat leaf parsley, spinach and many other ingredients during the cooking process... partly driven by the great appetites a day playing outdoors creates!
So we all know cooking is lots and lots of fun. But what do we learn?
We learn about ingredients, through taste, smell and texture. We use tools and learn to risk assess and be safe and responsible users of knives, scissors, spiralizers, graters and rolling pins. We learn maths as we measure ingredients into our dishes. We work on our fine motor skills as we manipulate ingredients by hand, tear herbs, grind up items using a pestle and mortar and much more. We learn team work and practise our collaborative and communication rich social skills. We work together to create something amazing - our own dinner :-) Then enjoy sitting down together to eat it.
For their first ever cooking class our Chiswick Little Forest Folk-ers made some delicious seed topped bread rolls to accompany a smoked mackerel pate. What a yummy dinner! We then made some marinated olives and tried to not eat them all so we could send some home to mummies and daddies to enjoy the fruits of their children's labours.
Read more about our food or have a look at some of our recipes below.