A Great Recipe at Great Western Primary School
At Great Western Primary, in Victoria’s Wimmera region, there’s no such thing as a mid-week slump.
For the school’s 29 pupils, Wednesdays have become a roaring favourite because that’s the day set aside for gardening, cooking and plenty of eating.
It’s been that way since the start of the year, when Prep/One teacher, Kate Hammond, introduced the small school to the ‘food philosophy’ of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program.
Ms Hammond says her ambition was to create a fun environment to grow her students’ interest in healthy foods, wholesome cooking and the responsibility of gardening.
Since then, it’s become a passion for the whole school, with all students tending to the garden, learning recipes and sharing their delectable creations with unmistakable pride.
“It is always wonderful to get out into the garden with the kids because it’s a different kind of learning — a different learning structure — and they respond incredibly well,” Ms Hammond says.
“The biggest thing, or the key to it all, is that it is truly interesting and fun, and that’s why the kids are so engaged; we don’t have any trouble getting them to want to be there, they look forward to it every week.”
The kitchen garden program has helped develop relationships between the school’s senior and junior students, and has equally developed professional connections for Ms Hammond, who now meets each term with teachers conducting similar programs in neighbouring schools.
“It’s great to meet with the other schools because we share ideas, share recipes and recommendations … (but) we also just get to know a bit about each other and what it’s like to teach in each of our schools,” she says.
“For the kids, it’s been a great way to link the senior and junior classes because, for example, even if the senior class has done the cooking for the week, the junior class will come in and we all sit down and eat together as a school.
“The kids love to discuss what they did to cook their meals and they especially love seeing the other kids eating what they’ve created.”