Cooking is one of kids most favorable activities in school. Apart from being a great life-derived play, cooking assists toddlers to get acquainted with a good number of skills.
Getting in touch with math, for example, in the age of 2.5 y.o is greatly achieved through cooking. Children start to understand what does it mean “two spoonful of sugar” or “4 eggs”.
Their fine motor skills also are greatly enhanced, as well as their decision making skills. “Which goes first, the oil or the cheese?” The purpose is not to give them answers, but encourage them to think for themselves.
As it always goes on play: we do not cook to learn, but we learn so much while cooking!
In a truly play-based environment, every single item can be transformed into a hat, a shoe, a wheel or a stool. That is why our spaces often look like junkyards!
Children should feel completely free to engage into play with anything that exists around, no matter what it may be; so they imagine, innovate, combine, cooperate and develop independent thinking, on a free will basis.
Talking about winter fruits in our English pre-k class. We introduced new vocabulary by giving fresh fruit to the children to feel, smell and taste. With their eyes closed they were able to identify and name them all!
Then, we made a fruit salad. After we ate it all we played games in the yard.
We rolled plastic fruit to see how far they can go…
….hang them high and tried to hit them with improvised bats.
We also had a real grocery store set up in our dramatic play area!
The next day we decided to make smoothies. We came up with a recipe….
….executed it and decided whether we like it or not!
(by Claire Hadjinikolaou, English teacher in Athens school)
Returning from Christmas Holidays, pre-Ks started describing how they spent Christmas time. Each one had a story to tell about relatives visiting his/her house or about a beautiful gathering at a friend’s home.
So, they decided it would be a good idea to invite over the post-toddlers’ class, for the first tea party of the year!
They wrote and distributed the invitation and prepared a welcome note!
They got excited by their own creations (look below Anastasis and George astonished in front of the welcome note they wrote, hanging on the wall!!)
They rearranged tables and chairs in such a way that we could all sit together! Children from both classes had lot of fun!!!
Having finished the tea party and after cleaning the class, Rosa said: “I really loved that! Can we have one more tomorrow, please?”
(by Spyridoula Patouna, teacher in Pre-K class, in Athens)