It is a proven fact that children that are taught to cook from a young age are far more likely to feed themselves healthily for the rest of their lives. At Young Friends we take this theory very seriously.
We teach our team to cook healthy food and provde healthy recipe books for them to follow. Children do not learn about textures, tastes and to gain ‘healthy’ appetites from cooking cakes and biscuits, so we save these for special occasions only. Not only do they really open up those taste buds to food from all over the world but they are learning all sorts of fine motor skills to boot.
To celebrate birthdays our families do not bring in cakes and sweets. We feel that if they did they would be eating unhealthy things all the time and our parents agree. We have a pretend cake (see picture in this gallery) and we sing and have candles and they have balloons and games and we make a real fuss of them. We find this is so much more fun that stuffing them with additives.
At nursery our groups do LOTS of healthy cooking activities with the children. They make pizzas, Italian bread, falafels, fajitas, pasties, salads, chicken wraps and so much more. You name it they cook it. Our families often give us suggestions too.
The children use the herbs and vegetables from our vegetable and herb patch and they chop and roll and squash and snip. They get covered in flour and all sorts of other things and they learn how to actually cook!
They squash the herbs and smell them and talk about what they are doing all the time. Our staff really enjoy this type of cooking and are learning to make wonderful things at home themselves.
We also use the nationalities of our diverse staff members for example our Italian preschool practitioner talks Italian with the children whilst she cooks Calzone – belissima!
The children are always proud of what they make and our parents love to try it at the end of the day – that is if they haven’t wolfed it down at tea time themselves (the Gorilla’s Calzone today looks and smells fantastic).
We are often told that our children just love helping in the kitchen at home. We often get heartening comments from the families of children that have left and gone onto school saying that they are the best and most interested cooks of the family. All it takes is a little passion and some healthy ingredients and hey presto – budding little chefs. Job done.