KITCHEN AND FARM
Driver Kitchen Garden Program
Students at Driver primary are getting their hands dirty and learning about GROWING, HARVESTING, PREPARING and SHARING fresh seasonal food.
Each builds invaluable knowledge and understanding of food and of the integral role it plays in our physical and social wellbeing. Each plants the seeds for a lifetime of positive eating habits and enjoyment of food. We want to bring good food into the curriculum and culture of our school; to feed the minds, bodies and futures of each and every student.
Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program SAKGP
A kitchen garden is created to provide edible, aromatic and beautiful resources for a kitchen. The creation and care of a Kitchen Garden teaches children about the natural world, about it's beauty and how to care for it, how best to use the resources we have, and an appreciation for how easy it is to bring joy and wellbeing into one's life through growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing fresh, seasonal produce.
Stephanie identifies the recipe for an effective Kitchen Garden Program:
We stress pleasure, flavour and texture by encouraging talk and thinking that uses all of the senses.
We do not describe food to children using the word 'healthy' as a main descriptor.
We reinforce techniques over and over so that children are actually able to cook simple dishes or plants seeds at home.
Menus are planned around seasonal availability
We seek to expand the culinary horizons for children and present cultural differences as fascinating rather than strange.
We seek to expand the children's vocabulary for describing flavours and textures and plant families and names.
We use fresh ingredients at their peak - for example, herbs should not be past their season, beans should not be overgrown and tough.
The cooking of raw fruit and vegetables should be timed with great care - we don't want to present children with food that is unpalatable.
The garden crops underpin kitchen planning - lots of basil is likely to lead to a pesto-making session; lots of greens tomatoes to chutney or pickles. Menu planning will take account of growing timelines.
In other words, the Garden Specialist needs to understand about ingredients for good cooking and the Kitchen Specialist needs to have some understanding of gardening.
We come together around a table at the end of the cooking to share the meal.
In the Kitchen Garden Program at Driver Primary, children across Years 3 to 6 access the program for 2 hours a week with a specialist teacher and kitchen or garden specialist.
Year 3-6 students spend 2 hours a week for either Semester 1 or 2 (6 months of the year) in an extensive vegetable garden that they have helped design and build and which they maintain on the school grounds according to organic gardening principles. This garden which we have named ‘Farm Driver’ is also home to some very loved chickens and a guinea fowl.
They also spend 2 hours a week on the alternate semester (6 months of the year) in a kitchen classroom preparing and sharing a variety of meals created from their produce.
Early childhood classes from Transition to Year 2 visit the kitchen for half of the year and the farm for the other half of the year as an introduction to the more formal Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. They visit for a 2 hour session once a fortnight with their classroom teacher and either the kitchen or garden specialist.
Our preschool students also enjoy visiting the farm to feed the chickens during their Wednesday sessions.
The farm and kitchen provide a creative and conducive learning environment. The program immerses students in a unique learning environment where they develop a great sense of achievement as they grow, harvest, prepare and share food that they have cultivated themselves. Your child is also welcome to bring their own gumboots and/or gloves to farm lessons. They must wear enclosed shoes to participate in both the kitchen and the farm. A hat and water bottle is also important for lessons in the farm.
Parent volunteers are an extremely important component of the program. If you are able to assist, please contact Julia Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring the school.