Food education – Better Eating, Better Learning - St Joseph's Primary School
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What was done?
St Joseph's Primary School in Busby, East Renfrewshire, applied for Food for Thought Funding to create a school garden to enhance children’s understanding of the benefits of growing, harvesting and preparing their own food. Children and parents were involved from the outset in planning, designing and creating the garden.
The catering team was keen to be involved in the improvement of the food experience in the school. The team provided a very successful work experience project to allow P6 children to put into practice some of the skills and knowledge they were learning in the classroom. They were more than happy to help with food-related projects and supported children with cooking and using kitchen equipment.
The catering team even hosted a much appreciated, celebratory lunch to thank parents and community members who came along to the many 'garden volunteer' days.
The aims of the project were:
- To give children an understanding of the benefits of eating fresh, local and seasonal produce;
- To excite, educate and inspire children to want to sow, grow and eat healthy food;
- To learn new cooking and gardening skills to take home and use in the future;
- To develop skills and confidence in practical cookery;
- To give children an understanding of where food comes from, the factors affecting food choice and impacts of those choices locally and globally;
- To strengthen our links with home and the community.
What was the impact?
This has been a hugely successful community project which has resulted in a real buzz around food education in St Joseph's. Children are excited about growing and eating food and many have reported that they are now growing and cooking at home. It has been important to:
- Involve children and their families in all aspects of the project to give them a sense of ownership and pride. The project really helped bring the school community together with a shared sense of purpose.
- Give parents the opportunity to share their expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm-our project far succeeded what we hoped to achieve due to parents and members of the local community being hugely generous with their time and resources.
- Work closely with catering staff to enhance children’s food experiences.
- In addition to teaching children about food and health, make sure children get hands on experience of sowing, growing, harvesting, cooking and eating food as this will hopefully inspire them to grow, cook and enjoy fresh healthy food in the future.
One pupil said:
When I was at the school kitchen it was inspirational because I love to bake and cook and this gave me some tips for how to make my food even better. I was so honoured to be included in the programme.
Another pupil said:
I enjoyed building the garden and was very excited for it to happen. I also enjoyed planting corn and making soup. It was delicious.
What happens next?
The school is now keen to:
- Start an after school cooking club;
- Look at increased opportunities for outdoor cooking using a fire pit;
- Work with the school kitchen to build in more opportunities for using our home grown produce at lunchtime;
- Work with the school PTA to plan a school Summer Fete where children will create 'Around the World' street food stalls using fruit and vegetables grown in the School garden.