Learning how to prepare affordable, sustainable, healthy meals is an important life skill, and the earlier children start the better. At the Upper Wharfedale Primary Federation we offer cookery lessons to children from Reception through to Year 6 allowing them to acquire this invaluable skill, while gaining an understanding of the importance of a healthy and balanced diet within a wider world context. Our cookery lessons are led by our specialist teacher, Mrs Allen.
Children are encouraged to try new and healthy foods, experimenting with new, sometimes exotic ingredients. We spend time fine tuning a variety of independent skills that involve all the senses such as mixing, tossing, pouring, mashing, grating, moulding, cracking, smelling, kneading and bridge cutting. Furthermore, with adult supervision they learn to use a range of equipment such as a food processor and to develop healthy cooking methods such as stir-frying, steaming, baking or grilling with a hob or an oven. From an early stage children get to practise essential life maths skills such as counting, weighing, measuring and tracking time. They also gain social skills by working together and communicating in the kitchen. Hygiene, health and food safety are emphasised throughout but our main focus is to instill the children with confidence and love of preparing food.
By the end of Key Stage 1 we hope children will understand the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes and that they will understand where food comes from.
By the end of Key Stage 2 we aspire for children to understand and apply the principles of a healthy and varied diet, prepare and cook a variety of predominantly savoury dishes using a range of cooking techniques. We also place some emphasis on understanding seasonality and sustainability and knowing where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed.
We believe it is important for the children to cook with a purpose and, where possible, an audience so in the past children of the Federation have designed and prepared themed canapés for our Federation show and we plan to do something similar at future events. We like children to develop a heightened awareness of the outside world and look at food on a very global scale. We will often make and adapt a recipe within the context of an international festival or celebration such as Mardi Gras, Burn’s Night, Fastelavn, Diwali, Thanksgiving or Chinese New Year. In addition we will often link our cookery to a given class topic, whether that be the Environment, Coast to Coast or the Victorians.
We hope to combine our cookery with our outdoor learning in the garden with the children eventually cooking with ingredients they have grown.