Healthy Living and Eating has been a school goal and an area that our PAC is particularly interested in supporting and promoting. As part of promoting healthy food choices, we built and installed a school garden to use as an outdoor classroom. Several classes also participated in a week-long, hands on cooking school called Project Chef, which is the activity we received the HSN grant for.
Students, parents, staff and administrators prepped, cooked and ate balanced, healthy meals together. The students learned kitchen skills, discussed where food comes from, sampled new types of organic vegetables, and worked with mentors who are employed in kitchens around our city.
The students took home their recipes and cooked them for their family members. The program sparked an interest in growing and cooking their own food, which supported our school garden project. Parent and student feedback was extremely positive, so much so that we are trying to get Project Chef to return to our school for a full school in-residence program next year.
It brought families into the classroom to work with their children and the school staff as a team. Students enjoyed cooking for their parents, and the adults were amazed at what the children had learned to do.
We are expanding our healthy eating practices through the school garden, and garden lessons with a mentor from a local environmental group. Teachers are getting excited about how to use planting, growing, harvesting and cooking as unique learning tools which the students love. We hope to expand our garden next year by doubling the number of boxes, and increasing the number of classrooms that use the garden space (this year we had 11 classes growing). We are hoping to have Project Chef return to our school, and be able to work with all 400 students, perhaps incorporating ingredients that we have grown ourselves.