Planting the seeds of learning - Education Matters Magazine

Planting the seeds of learning


kitchen garden

The kitchen gardens sprouting up in schools all over Australia offer a great opportunity to incorporate cooking and gardening activities across the entire school curriculum.

The not-for-profit Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation provides a range of teaching resources that connect a variety of learning areas, including maths, English and science – for Years 3–6 students – to the kitchen and garden.

Schools who join the Foundation’s Kitchen Garden National Program receive an Implementation Manual, Kitchen Garden Program Syllabus and Tools for Teachers–an ongoing series ofcurriculum resource books.

They are also able to purchase Recipes for Literacy, which includes 12 recipes laid out in a step-by-step process with clear photographs. These recipes are ideal for all students and provide the additional support required by reluctant readers and students with literacy special needs.

The Tools for Teachers series and Recipes for Literacy are also available for purchase by schools not running the Program, but who have a kitchen garden and are interested in incorporating it into students’ learning.

Kitchen Garden Foundation Curriculum Officer Bev Laing, author of Tools for Teachers which is now into its fourth set, says the books were designed to support learning with curriculum-linked exercises in food science, agriculture, cultural and environmental studies.

“Children learn fundamental maths skills and practise literacy in the kitchen and garden without noticing it, mainly because they’re having so much fun,” Laing said.

“The books draw on our 10 years of experience and link activities explicitly to learning areas in ways that are hands-on, engaging and suitable for all learning styles.

“Ask a kid to weigh their tomato harvest, tally it up and check last year’s figure – that’s maths, but to them it’s more about the challenge, having fun and the tomato tart that results.”

The Foundation has also created a curriculum matrix, listing every activity in the Tools for Teachers series against the relevant Learning Areas and Strands of the Australian Curriculum. The matrix is available as a free download from the Foundation website.

TheStephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden National Programis open to all schools with a primary curriculum and runs in over 500 schools around Australia, teaching more than 70,000 students the joys of growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing fresh, seasonal food.

The Program aims to reach 800 schools, which is 10 per cent of all Australian primary schools, by the end of next year.

Schools wanting to join theProgram can complete an online form and contribute $660 to the cost of four days of training for one or two teachers. The cost of this training has been heavily subsidised by the Australian Government.

The two training sessions for teachers, each two full days, are held six months apart and are available in all Australian states and territories, in metropolitan and regional areas.

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