Cooking with Your Child – More than Just a Bonding Time
One of the first things new Montessori parents notice when their child starts attending a Montessori school is the awakening of their independence and the rising need to do things on their own. It is the human’s innate characteristics to fend for oneself, developed and refined through years of evolution, only to come to the verge of extinction with the modern age. Robot vacuum cleaners, nannies and so called “helicopter parenting” are threatening to completely disable an entire generation. Something must change.
As children start diving in the new-found pond of independence and increasing capabilities, the job of all adults involved in their upbringing is to allow them to take part in house chores. One of the most thrilling activities you can do together at home is cooking! The title of this article suggests that this is a precious time for bonding – especially after hours spent away at work and school – time to share the news and emotionally connect.
Interdisciplinary approach to learning
UNESCO International Bureau of Education defines interdisciplinary approach to learning as:
“An approach to curriculum integration that generates an understanding of themes and ideas that cut across disciplines and of the connections between different disciplines and their relationship to the real world. It normally emphasizes process and meaning rather than product and content by combining contents, theories, methodologies and perspectives from two or more disciplines.“
What does this mean and how is it related to cooking, one might ask? Translated to simple terms, interdisciplinary approach is used to teach a certain central theme or topic, approaching it from various angles. This is rather uncommon for traditional educational systems where knowledge is used to placed into “drawers” with allocated time slots predicted to dig through each of these imaginary drawers in isolation, often interrupted by the sound of the school bell. Class after class, subject after subject, we forget Math as soon as we entered the History class, etc. However, this segregation of subjects rarely (if ever) takes place in real life, and this is where cooking comes as the simplest example.
Cooking = 5 primary school subjects
Take a moment here to analyse cooking in relation to primary school curriculum. What if I tell you that cooking combines at least 5 subjects?
There is no doubt that reading and understanding a recipe requires basic literacy skills, such as phonics (associating written letters with the sounds of spoken language), fluency (ability to read text accurately, quickly, and expressively, either to oneself or aloud) and comprehension (ability to read text accurately, quickly, and expressively, either to oneself or aloud). Not to mention the expansion of vocabulary! And if our meal impresses our guests, it would require some writing skills too!
2 Tbsp, 1/2 cup, divide the mixture…should we even explain?
Whether you are vegan or love a juicy steak, preparing a meal can be a wonderful opportunity to talk about all the resources we get from our planet that nourish us – their characteristics, classifications, habitat…the list is endless.
Children love experiments! And isn’t every step of a meal preparation an experiment of its own? As you watch the bread dough rise, you can talk about the processes of fermentation happening before your eyes. Just make sure to keep the vocabulary age appropriate, but keep it real – no fairy tales!
In some curriculums nutrition is an integral part of Physical Education subject. Teaching your child about the need for balanced nutrition to keep our body and mind healthy is best done at the kitchen table (or counter)!
Tell us, in the comments below, what is your favourite meal to cook with your little ones?