Trafalgar Primary Cooking Up A Community
The School Breakfast Clubs Program – Cooking Classes provide a food literacy, cooking and nutrition education program, focused on bringing families together in the school environment to learn life-long healthy eating habits.
The Cooking Class team recently had the pleasure of delivering Cooking Classes at Trafalgar Primary School. The program brings families together to learn life-long healthy eating habits and aims to provide a hands-on environment where families cook and enjoy a meal together.
Cooking Classes provided an opportunity for the school to connect with different families within the school community, and for these families to create connections with each other. The team at the school found the fun and casual setting within the classes created the perfect environment to check in with the attending families, both for the school Principal and teachers alike. This helped to strengthen relationships between the staff, parents/carers and the students in a relaxed school context.
Another added benefit of the Cooking Classes was the relationships that were created between the attending families. Community is so important to the school, and seeing new friendships spark up was an unexpected outcome.
One grandparent carer attending the classes struggled to make social connections within the school community, until she attended the Cooking Classes. She met another carer, they chatted each week and planned to continue to catch up after the classes. A lovely outcome to create community!
Who attended the Cooking Classes?
Student leaders in the group are given responsibility overseeing the food distribution, which is providing them with valuable organisational and communication skills. An unexpected benefit is that the students are also washing up their own dishes. The school has a bucket with warm water and a brush on a table, where the dishes are rinsed and placed into another bucket. A student helper stays at the table to make sure that the process is followed, and then puts the dishes into the dishwasher for a final clean.
While we were visiting the school, two students came into the Breakfast Club to ask if they could help. The Helper positions and badges are sought after. These positions are provided to students who have displayed good behaviour, and they are also used as an incentive for good behaviour.
Another change that has been introduced is the move from many small tables to sit at, to two long tables. This change encouraged different age groups to sit with each other and mingle, with great outcomes.
The team at Trafalgar Primary wanted to create a welcoming community within the Cooking Classes, so chose families that would benefit most from this. The families were chosen for a variety of reasons, including recent bereavements, financial hardships, children with learning and behavioural needs and students with past struggles at the school.
What about those hampers!
Each week the families take home a hamper full of fresh and staple food. This ensures they can practice the weekly recipes at home. The families at the Trafalgar Primary Cooking Classes loved the generous hampers. Not only did they enable families to try new recipes at home, but it also helped to cut down their weekly grocery bills.
The kids love trying something new
Each week the Cooking Classes whip up a different recipe, either pizza from scratch, fried rice, or rice paper rolls to name a few. Young kids can be fussy eaters and wouldn’t try this new food at home. But when the students make the food themselves and see other students eating it, they are more likely to try it too!
One family, with four children all diagnosed with Autism, particularly loved the Cooking Classes. Their mother told the Cooking Classes team that food has been a real obstacle at home, where she struggles to get her kids to try new foods and feels like the family’s diet has not been as healthy due to their sensory issues with vegetables and other foods.
She was absolutely delighted to see her two youngest children participating in the classes and trying something that they wouldn’t normally try, including the Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls, packed with colourful, crunchy vegetables.
Positive impact on the community
The success of the Foodbank Cooking Classes at Trafalgar Primary School demonstrates the positive impact of the community-focused program. The Classes not only provided practical cooking skills but also serve as a catalyst for building relationships, fostering social connections, and creating a supportive environment for families facing various challenges. The collaboration between the school, families, and Foodbank identifies the outcomes of the program for bringing about positive change and strengthen community bonds.
Testimonials from Trafalgar Primary School
A participating parent shared, “Foodbank Cooking Classes have been awesome, and the recipes have been good! The kids are happy! We’ve already made the fried rice again at home. It’s making us want to cook more as a family.”
From the school’s perspective, Jess Burns, the Breakfast Club Coordinator, remarked, “We loved hosting Foodbank Cooking classes at our school! Alanna and Jane did a marvellous job creating a warm and inviting environment for our families to connect with one another and learn some valuable lessons on nutrition and cooking.”