Noble Park ELS Bringing families together through food 

Noble Park English Language School (ELS) is a multi-campus, co-educational institution serving students from Prep to Year 10. With around 600 students, the school specialises in providing intensive English language courses tailored for newly arrived migrants, refugees, and international students from non-English speaking backgrounds.  

At Noble Park ELS, the Cooking Classes facilitated by the Foodbank Victoria team didn’t just teach culinary skills, they became a catalyst for bonding and joy within the school community. 

The Cooking Class program had an immediate impact. Right from the moment the expression of interest was sent out to the school community, there was an overwhelming and positive response. Parents were very eager to join, making it clear to school staff that they craved this opportunity to bond with their children and become more involved in the wider school community. 

Noble Park ELS’s community includes families who have faced hardships and challenging journeys migrating to Australia, some as refugees. The Cooking Classes offered more than just cooking tips, recipes, and a take home hamper; they provided a safe and welcoming environment where parents and children could reconnect. 

Why the families loved it 

“The parents were grateful for some time with their child,” said Maxine, the school’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Leader (Primary). It provided them a chance to try something new and enjoy each other’s company away from daily stresses and routine. 

The students relished the opportunity to try new foods and spend quality time learning some new skills and cooking alongside their parents. The classes provided a chance to foster stronger family and community ties beyond the classroom. 

One parent, a mother with five children, one with a disability, was hesitant initially as her busy life made it difficult to fit this activity in. However, after some persuading by her children, she agreed and attended with her oldest child.  

Whilst they were cooking, one of her other children stopped by to check it out. Staff told him that mum would bring home all the ingredients and the recipe, so they can cook together at home, a brilliant way to involve the rest of the children. The Cooking Classes gave families the opportunity to create memories and empower children to explore new skills at home. 

chvinuja soba Noble Park ELS

veggie pizza

Why Noble Park ELS loved it 

“We wanted parents to feel connected to the school community in a meaningful way,” shared Maxine, the school’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Leader (Primary). “These classes provided a fresh avenue for engagement beyond traditional academic discussions.” One student, who’d received a helping hand from a Foodbank staff member to make rice paper rolls, was especially pleased that she was also given a hamper to take home. The feedback from her teacher the next day, was that the rest of her family thoroughly enjoyed making a new meal together that evening.  


“I came to the Cooking Classes with my child. Thank you very much. Finally, my child ate vegetables and liked it,” expressed a grateful parent, highlighting the program’s success in encouraging healthier eating habits. 


The school leadership echoed these sentiments, describing the program as “an extremely wonderful experience for the school community” that brought with it positivity and engagement. The Principal, Enza Calabro, particularly appreciated how the multi-purpose room came alive with vibrant activity and camaraderie.