Hepburn Primary School grade two pupil Matilda Graham jumps up and down when asked about the school’s cooking program.
She made scones with her classmates in cooking class last week and was looking forward to making them at home with her family at the weekend.
Hepburn Primary School principal Robert Walsh said he introduced the cooking program hoping to provide pupils with basic cooking skills and enable them to make healthy choices. Each class at the school participates in cooking lessons for eight weeks.
Mr Walsh said pupils were excited to cook and had become involved in cooking at home.
“The children are so enthusiastic and engaged, with many children cooking the recipe from school, at home,” he said. “All week I hear, ‘When are we cooking? What are we cooking? I can’t wait for cooking!’.”
Pupils are involved in food preparation for the cooking classes. Mr Walsh said science teacher Sally Koerner assists pupils to research seasonal vegetables and herbs. Pupils also design the layout of school garden beds before planting and cultivating the produce.
Moroccan couscous, stir fry, fried rice, savoury rolls, homemade pasta, quesadillas and corn fritters are some of the recipes on the menu for Hepburn Primary pupils.
Get Kids Cooking is a primary school cooking education program featured on television program Shark Tank. They supply lesson plans and food packs which make it easy for teachers to run fuss-free classes.
Two young mums Joanne Bowskill and Holly Boal founded Get Kids Cooking because of a lack of age-appropriate hands-on cooking programs for primary school children.
“All the recipes are healthy, it is hands-on for kids, every child cooks the full recipe from start to finish and at the end they get to taste it and eat it and then they get a recipe they can take home,” Ms Bowskill said.
“The research we are doing in the schools we are working with shows 80 per cent of students who are doing these classes and take those recipes home recreate these meals for and with their families. What that means is we are actually having an impact on what those families are eating, so there is a broader community benefit than just what we are doing with the school.”
“There is a real loss of the skill of cooking. It is really important to teach children these skills because then they know what is going in their food and they can make better food choices for their entire lives.”