Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden
Beckenham Primary School is proudly a member of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation which now has a membership in excess of 800 schools across Australia. We first became interested in bringing the core philosophy of the foundation to our school in 2009 when we established a vegetable garden. In 2011 we gained a $60,000 Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden grant to renovate the old resource centre and school funds have allowed us to us to grow the concept. We have been able to implement a full kitchen garden program since the establishment of a fully functional kitchen in 2011. The kitchen is the envy of most other schools with generous room for preparing food and sharing it afterwards.
One of the core philosophies of the SAKG Foundation is the belief that, ‘the best way to encourage children to choose food that is healthy is to engage them in fun, hands-on experiences in growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing such food from the earliest possible age’. Pleasurable food education teaches students to grow fresh, seasonal produce and use it to prepare nutritious, delicious food. Students are given all the skills, experiences and role modelling they need to learn to love their veggies and make healthier choices about what to cook and eat, for life.
Teaching children to grow, harvest, prepare and share their own fruit and vegetables is proven to have a positive impact on the food choices students make. This learning extends beyond the classroom – research shows that engaged, excited students are likely to share their new skills with their family.
At Beckenham Primary School we introduce this approach to all Year 1 to Year 6 students. Students attend fortnightly rotating between Kitchen Garden classes and Science. Typically classes complete a two hour class each fortnight rotating between the kitchen and garden. We are very fortunate to have a very passionate kitchen and garden specialist who presents fantastic opportunities for our students to be immersed in growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing good wholesome and tasty food. Students are introduced to the many skills associated with garden and kitchen practices where positive and life-long attitudes about living a healthy lifestyle are developed.
We are very proud of our program at Beckenham Primary School. In 2012, the program earned an ACHPHER (The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation) award. We always welcome parent and community volunteers into our school to assist our specialists in the delivery of their programs and to be sound mentors and role models for our students. The regular volunteers we have in the kitchen enjoy the opportunity of working with students to prepare and share food. If you would like to make a donation of materials or ingredients to the program at any time please contact us.
The SAKGF program provides opportunities for our students to explore where real food comes from and the importance of caring for our environment. Students are able to establish important skills in preparing quality food and developing healthy attitudes. Skills and attitudes for life-long learning are fostered through ‘hands on’ activities that are interactive and motivating. It is a very engaging, real life context for learning.
Further information can be found at www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au