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Can Kids Learn to Cook at School?

13 August 2023

Teaching your kids cooking at home can be fun, but the truth is our kids spend most of their waking hours at school. Can your kids learn to cook at school? The answer depends, but it can often be yes!

Cooking is on the National Curriculum

The National Curriculum in England now includes “Cooking and Nutrition”, with children in Key Stages 2 and 3 (up to the age of 14) learning how to cook a range of mostly savoury dishes using different cooking methods. How this is practically applied will vary depending on the facilities available at your children’s school, however all children should gain an understanding of food and nutrition through their education. The curriculums in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are slightly different but all include cooking and nutrition. Private schools may also choose not to follow the National Curriculum, but the prospectus or website should tell you whether they teach cooking.

Benefits of Cooking in Schools

Cooking at a young age will do your kids a lot of good. This is why many schools nowadays incorporate cooking activities into their learning strategies. A recent survey reported that almost 80% of primary school children could prepare and cook their own snacks and meals. These kids tend to be more effective and capable in class. Kids who do not learn how to prepare and cook their meals tend to rely on ready-to-eat foods, convenience store packs, and other food items with poor nutritional value. Because of reports like these, more and more schools have been exposing their students to cooking at an early age. 

Some specific benefits of cooking at school include: 

  • Learning from a professional teacher. If your child is learning cooking in school, they’re likely learning from an experienced teacher who has handled kids cooking in the kitchen for several years. The teacher will probably know precisely how to teach kids cooking from scratch and develop their skills safely. At school, kids can listen to instructions, carry them out, observe how the teacher does it, and of course, the best part, get to taste their very own creations! 

  • Becoming more confident. When cooking at school, children must be confident in carrying out the different tasks they face. At home, kids are stuck in the same kitchen surrounded by the same ingredients. They may get too familiar with the environment which won’t be the case at school. In a school kitchen, kids may be exposed to a variety of things which might be new to them. This will get them excited and expand their skill sets even more - after all, variety is the spice of life!

  • Cooking with friends is more fun. Cooking at home might get boring after a while. On the contrary, cooking in school gives your kids a completely different experience. It’s a healthy and enjoyable experience for students to cook together with their classmates and teachers. They can have fun, mess about, learn new things, and make cooking a much more fun experience on the whole!

Photo by Ron Lach

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