Within the Curriculum for Excellence, the school were looking for ways to join up areas of the curriculum to make learning more meaningful and to teach in a context that children could identify with. Gillian continued: “Using cooking was an excellent vehicle for promoting writing, especially instructions and functional recounts. It supported our maths and science curriculum in the area of measurement, biological systems and biodiversity and interdependence by growing some basic foodstuff.”
Researching the project, teachers spoke with children to assess prior knowledge and their experience of cooking healthily. Children were encouraged to discuss healthy diets and the impact this had on their life.
The project then aimed to establish a pattern of wellbeing which the children would take into later life. They also wanted to encourage the children to cook healthily at home and support the work done by parents in promoting healthy eating. In addition to this it was hoped that the project would help children understand the importance of a well balanced diet and this would see them identify healthy options when choosing treats.
The time-span of the project was one year which involved the implementation of the project throughout the whole school with 194 pupils taking part. Each pupil was involved with preparing equipment, preparing food and using appropriate methods to cook food.
A number of classroom resources were used in the implementation of this project such as smartboards, posters, jotter work and powerpoint presentations. Outside agencies were also involved with Bartletts donating potatoes and Quality Meat Scotland also took part in demonstrations and cooked beef wraps in some classes.
According to Gillian, the aims of the project were met with feedback from children and parents highlighting the success and enjoyment gained from ‘Fun Friday’.
“Children were transferring skills gained in school to home cooking activities. Children reported trying new foods. Some children brought samples of their food into school for classmates to try. Some children went on to create their own cookbooks at home and showed these to classmates and teaching staff,” added Gillian.
In a review of the academic year, children, parents and staff have expressed a wish to continue with the cooking programme and this is now happening at the school. Pupils also expressed an interest in growing the food for some of the activities.
Pupils are now participating more in food preparation at home whilst others are trying foods that they would not normally eat.