Did you know that cooking in the classroom can help children learn many different key concepts? Not only does the experience of creating meals build a child’s self-confidence but cooking also lays the foundation for promoting healthy eating habits!
Cooking can help children build basic math skills such as counting, measuring, and sequencing (by following the steps of a recipe). It can also help build science skills by seeing what happens to food when placed in a hot oven or mixing dry and wet ingredients together. And it can also help promote early literacy skills by “reading” the recipe cards and following allowing with the steps.
Having children help with cooking also promotes a diverse palate. Preschoolers are known to be picky eaters. Helping with meal prep may increase interest in trying new foods. Cooking also helps build a child’s self-confidence by allowing them to show what they can do in the meal prep and gain a sense of accomplishment when the meal is ready.
Here are some tips on what the teacher’s role can be while cooking within the preschool classroom:
- Engage children in conversation of what they are doing/ experiencing.
- Verbalize and describe what the children are doing to help increase diverse vocabulary.
- Talk about where the foods come from.
- Ask probing questions to get the children to think critically about what they are doing and why they are doing it.
- Make observations and take notes.
- Model positive attitudes and behaviors (messes and mistakes are bound to happen, but show children that mistakes are all part of the learning process).
We here at H&H Child Care Training Center want to encourage healthy eating habits and have created courses to help providers like yourself provide healthy and nutritious meals and snacks for the children in your program. Such online courses are:
On My Plate: Children’s Nutrition
The First Year: Feeding Infants
We also offer in-person/zoom trainings:
Chef’s in the Classroom: Cooking as a Teaching Tool
Healthy Habits from the Start
H & H Child Care Training (ChildCareEd) Courses grant .2 CEUs or more as well as awarding state-approved clock hours of 2 or more for all childcare centers, and family childcare providers in many states. Check with your licensing agency to check for any additional requirements and to see if we are approved in your home state. Click on childcareed.com to learn more and schedule your next class today!