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Tips for Cooking with Children in the Classroom


by Cathy Abraham

- Remember - Children will usually be able to only focus on one step at a time.

- Each ingredient should be wonderful to explore and children should be allowed to do so. Cooking projects should be a hands-on, sensory experience.

- The recipe must be flexible to allow for some inaccurate counting and measuring.

- To promote literacy, recipe should have both pictures and print to enable children to follow along.

- A routine must be established to be followed throughout the year for cooking projects with handwashing being the first step.

- Recipes should involve actions. Each child should be able to actively participate, if they choose to.

- Be prepared for participation- ensure that there are sufficient ingredients and utensils.

- Because children typically are unable to follow the transformation properties, the process of baking should be explained in simple terms. Parallels between home and school should be encouraged and discussed.

- The more opportunities for hands-on involvement by children, the more meaningful and of value the project.

- Open-ended questions to promote thinking should be made throughout process.

- Cooking experiences should not be restricted to gender. Address any comments that children may make about cooking being for girls.

- Have all ingredients on hand and organized prior to starting project as well as extra in the event there is a mishap of some kind.

- Allow ample time, so that children do not need to be rushed.

From Your Child:
When I am cooking, I am measuring, comparing, counting, classifying, and experiencing how properties of things change. I am role-playing, learning more about my world and experiencing different cultures!


About the Author:
Cathy Abraham has worked in the early childhood field for 25 years. She is currently a consultant, curriculum writer and trainer. Cathy can be reached at childcarediva@aol.com. .



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