Blog: Food for Schools
Our latest blog was written by Love British Food ambassador Olivier Blanc.
Food for me now, is one of the great pleasures in life but my early memories were a bit different. I was sent to boarding school at seven years old and I went from loving home made food to grey sludge that was prepared by people who seemed to have an equal disdain for children as they did food! But even now I can still remember the excitement of knowing that apple crumble, one of the few meals they couldn’t ruin, was going to be served. My point is that when food is prepared simply and with a little bit of love, it can really be something to look forward to and in a day full of learning it can provide not only the fuel but a precious space for the children to relax, interact and to learn important social skills such as table manners and communication which in turn can improve confidence.
Sadly food is still seen by too many educators as an end product, something that needs to be done. But with just a little imagination it is clear that food can actually be a gateway to learning in many ways. Certainly at nursery and key stage 1, where there is a cross curricular approach to teaching. That is to say that you are encouraged to broach multiple subjects in one class. I think food provides that perfect opportunity. In a cooking class you use mathematics to weigh and divide. Geography and history can explain where foods originated from and the sciences can begin to explain the cooking process. You could even create a small kitchen garden which I would use as an outdoor classroom. I think most kids would like a break from the stale confines of the classroom to carry on their learning outside for one class, they could even get to eat their homework!
Against the appalling child obesity statistics, I strongly feel that giving children a solid food foundation is an essential life skill. Speaking for myself I have hardly used any of the subjects I learnt at school/university to progress in life and I am sure I am not alone. But cooking is something we do everyday, something that keeps us alive and is essential to our well being, so for me it should be integral in any school’s programme- surely that’s not rocket science?