Cooking in the Spring Room

Posted December 6, 2022
Cutting zucchini for taste-testing

Cooking in the Spring Room

By Calley Myrvold

Think about the last time you made a meal for someone. Hopefully the food you prepared was appreciated and enjoyed by the ones eating it. When serving that meal, did it make you feel a sense of pride and joy?

This year, the children in the Spring Room at Inver Glen have had many opportunities to cook both new and familiar dishes: baked zucchini, fresh applesauce, and breakfast cookies, to name a few. It’s clear that when children cook these meals and serve them to their peers and teachers, they feel that same sense of pride and joy.

As teachers, we want to give children experiences that they enjoy while at the same time supporting learning. Cooking is a great way for many learning opportunities to come up organically. Cooking offers fine motor practice while children are cutting, pouring and mixing. They practice thinking skills while organizing all of the materials and ingredients to execute the cooking project, and there are plenty of math and literacy opportunities embedded in food preparation.

Adding various toppings to mini-pizzas to enjoy later in the day

Cooking also builds community in the classroom. The children who work hard to organize, peel, chop, measure, pour, and mix also get the pleasure of serving their peers and seeing and hearing their reactions. Most of the time, the children respond with, “Wow! That’s really good. Can I have more?” Sometimes we hear that children don’t enjoy the food that was made, which is okay, but we thank them for trying something new. To further the activity, the teachers will ask the children what they notice about the food they are trying. Is it crunchy? Hard? Sweet or sour? We like to hear what they think of the flavor and texture of the sometimes-new foods they are trying. Using descriptive words expands their expressive language skills, too.

It’s always exhilarating for the teachers to announce that today will be a cooking day. When that announcement is made, the children’s eyes widen and they want to get right to the cooking activity. “Can I help cut food?” or “Can I mix the apples?” or “Can I pour the carrots into the pot?”

There are so many rich learning opportunities when we cook in our classroom. The children are always enthusiastic and curious about preparing and trying new foods. Most of all, cooking at school brings a sense of pride, joy and community for children and teachers alike.

Chopping carrots for “Stone Soup”