Thoughts Behind Community Kitchen Day, by Michelle Elliott

 ...it is right to help children discover the

immeasurable richness provided by good food eaten

in good company, because at school, too, eating

means health, pleasure, and conviviality.

-from The Languages of Food

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At Rowanberry School we are working hard to build a community of learners that know one another, care for one another, and strive to learn from one another. There are so many reasons why cooking with children is a powerful and positive experience...it gives children a chance to partake in real life tasks and reap real life benefits. It enables children to grow socially as they cooperate and share cooking duties while working toward a common goal. It gives children an opportunity to develop both small and large muscle control and allows children to use all of their senses. There are many developmental benefits to cooking with children. They range from basic math and language skills to increased confidence. Children develop self-confidence by working independently, using real tools and creating something they can actually eat. Because the process and product ofcooking are both “real”, children feel they can truly do something useful.

DSC_0022Here at Rowanberry, the big idea behind Community Kitchen is one in which children are invite to prepare and share food at a table full of those they care for. Similar to to the family dinner table, a meal is not just simply created to nourish ones body, but also their soul. This table is a place where children come to know one another and the result is knowing who we are. This is the work that we hold sovaluable in our classroom. We are boys and girls, 2’s and 5’s, hunters and gathers dreamers and doers, makers and planners. We are old friends and new friends working together, celebrating all that is so familiar and everything that is new. This is our work. I grew up in a kitchen full of women, standing shoulder to shoulder, stirring the pot, sneaking a taste, fighting over the crispy skin of the beautifully roasted chicken. This was a place I felt loved and deeply appreciated - the kitchen is still my sacred spot. I hope that each week as we transform our classroom studio into the Rowanberry kitchen, your children will feel the same love and appreciation..that as we share our creations their bodies will be filled with the warmth of good food and all of the kindness that each of them has poured into the pot. These are not new ideas. I want to leave you with the words Mrs CF Leyel & Miss Olga Hartley. These words come from "The Gentle Art of Cookery," a book that was first published in 1925. I hope you will find them as delightful and inspirational as I do.

...when they are very young there is romance in the oven and the singing

kettle. A child in the kitchen is an alchemist learning the properties of these

mysterious elements- fire and water. A saucepan is a crucible in which anything might happen. Cooking is sheer magic to the child, pure white magic. A child watches the kneading of flour and water into dough and the transmutation of the pale dough into crusty loaves and brown cakes with delighted wonder with which the cherubim and seraphim must have looked on at the creation of the world.

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We welcome your thoughts, ideas, and favorite family recipes as we dive deeper into our work. Community Kitchen happens every Tuesday and Friday in our classroom. Tuesdays are Stone Soup day and Fridays are baking day. Our table is open- you are always invited to join our family in preparing and/or feasting on these days.

Thank you for the gift of your incredible children, from them we have so much to learn!