Why is teaching kids to cook important?

Teaching children the basics of cooking is a great way to broaden their knowledge of nutritious food and nutrition in a practical way.  Eating patterns that begin in childhood affect health and wellbeing throughout life, so early education is an important step in starting children with a positive relationship with food, and this begins with cooking classes in primary school.

At your school –

  • Is there a large proportion pre-packaged food consumed by students at recess and lunch?
  • Would a proportion of students be diagnosed as being overweight or obese?
  • Is the food literacy and self-regulation of ‘sometimes’ food lacking?
  • Are students missing out on being exposed to home cooking?
  • Do students skip meals?
  • In the classroom, do students need to increase their attention levels and do they lack energy at the end of the day?
  • Is there scope to expand their palette and willingness to try new foods?
  • Would students benefit from a multi-faceted, experiential way of learning through practical cooking classes?

Get Kids Cooking @ school is a curriculum aligned, hands-on program that is measurable and builds knowledge, skills and experience that empowers students to instigate good eating habits that will equip them for a healthy future.

As an essential part of their wellbeing strategy, schools are able to provide students with the opportunity to prepare and then eat at school their own healthy meals and snacks.

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“I think the Get Kids Cooking program is a wonderful innovation because it gets us out of fast food joints, into the home and it gets the best types of food into our bodies” The Hon Tony Abbott MP.

On Friday 9 September, The Hon Tony Abbott MP was part of an official ceremony where Get Kids Cooking presented Brookvale Public School with The Kitchen Kart mobile teaching kitchen and Cook In A Box lessons.

Why is teaching kids to cook at school important?

Culinary education naturally cultivates teamwork in children, has strong curriculum links across key learning areas and helps develop critical thinking skills and an understanding of the land and our communities. When children are involved in hands-on learning through digging and picking, mixing and chopping, and sitting together sharing a meal together, the impact is multi-faceted.  Children appreciate the concept of living sustainably, show willingness to experiment with foods, a heightened self-confidence, readiness to absorb and recall related information and display an appetite for learning more.

In the safe school environment, the Get Kids Cooking @ school teacher-led classes help children use a range of cooking skills to prepare, cook and eat healthy snacks and meals. Students can then transfer their knowledge to other cooking situations and re-create these dishes at home with confidence. Nutrition messages taught at school lend weight to the authority of information.  Higher levels of cooking skills and food knowledge are associated with higher vegetable consumption and healthier eating.

Schools are a sensible and popular setting to implement programs for equipping children with cooking skills because they offer continuous, intensive contact with children during their formative years.

What are the benefits of healthy cooking and eating?

Educating children about cooking is at the cornerstone of good health.  As dietary habits and healthy eating track from childhood to adolescence and then to adulthood, learning to cook nutritious snacks and meals at school contributes to the long-term wellbeing of students.

Health education and cooking has become increasingly important as a strategy to decrease childhood obesity.  Educating children at a younger age about how to cook wholesome food can help prevent future health disparities and diseases associated with obesity that are prevalent in Australia and around the world.

Research reveals that hands-on learning promotes success in science, numeracy and literacy, helping to develop critical thinking capability and sustainability practices. It has been shown that children who have prepared a dish at school using the Get Kids Cooking program, cook the same recipe again at home, and of those students, more than two-thirds cooked the recipe multiple times. This evidence suggests that the Get Kids Cooking @ school program may be an effective way to help contribute to stabilising the rate of childhood obesity.

By giving students the knowledge needed to make healthy food choices, they can be empowered to take better control of their own health.

Who will benefit from the Get Kids Cooking @ school program?

Cooking at school helps build a collective capacity for school communities to create a healthy future and basic cooking literacy for students.  The basic cooking techniques utilised in the Get Kids Cooking @ school program are used to cook a variety of nutritious dishes.  The hands-on cooking program can benefit teachers, students, their families and the wider community;

  • Professional development for teachers can increase their capacity to provide differentiated learning methods and be healthy food mentors for students
  • Each student experiences hands-on practical cooking lessons including building on basic skills each lesson, cooking the recipe themselves then eating what they’ve made at school
  • Students take home recipes of what they prepared at school so they are able to introduce their families to the healthy snacks and meals by replicating these dishes at home, having the potential to strengthen parent partnerships
  • Schools with a high percentage of students from families with a non-English speaking background can teach how to cook basic meals and snacks using pantry staples that are readily available at local supermarkets
  • The  wider  community  would  reap  the  savings  to  public  health,  as  well  as  the improved quality of life, as these children become adults
  • Cook In A Box class cooking kits are tailored to each year/stage and are not gender specific.

The Get Kids Cooking program makes it easy for schools to get cooking. With NO volunteers required, we send the classroom teachers everything they need.

Contact us to find out how you can Get Kids Cooking at your school by using funding, easy lease to buy payment options, P&C fundrasing, low SES funding, term fees or Schools Plus to assist your school today with purchasing The Kitchen Kart or Cook In A Box modules.

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