Why learning to cook is an integral part of a child’s development

Today I’m going to be examining why cooking is important to a child’s educational development. With the introduction of fast food and the microwaveable meal culture, the art of traditional cooking is starting to lose its once deep roots in our society. There’s also the added problem of a lack of impetus in many schools to pro-actively push cooking as a priority. If this unfortunate turn of events continues to escalate this doesn’t look good for future generations.

 

Why is cooking important?

As children grow they develop an unavoidable relationship with food and depending on their experiences this will determine the effect it has on them in later life. Cooking can help children learn about the benefits healthy food can provide, in a fun and engaging way. This will hopefully encourage them to have a positive relationship with food that will continue to grow as they do.
By learning the fundamentals of cooking, children can begin to understand which foods are important to include in a balanced diet. They get the chance to see, touch, taste and fully experience the many healthy foods available to them.
The promotion in schools of home cooking can help children foster good eating habits. Home cooking is often cheaper in the long run, as preparation from scratch can allow you to ‘batch cook’ meals making it more cost effective per portion. This thinking and preparing ahead of schedule makes life easier and more manageable, without having to compromise on healthy eating. Additionally, home cooking offers a healthy and cost saving alternative to takeaways and restaurants, which are best kept as a treat.
 

What does it teach our children?

Teaching a child to prepare and cook food equips them with much more than just a practical skill, like chopping, cutting, peeling, kneading or even mixing.
Did you know that practical cookery lessons can promote other subject learning as well?
Cooking can teach mathematics; through counting, measuring and weighing ingredients. It also teaches English, as the child learns to communicate with friends and teachers. It can educate them about science, and the importance of a nutritional diet. It also explores geography, through examining where ingredients come from worldwide. It even looks at the subject of history and the origins of food from the past. All this learning packed into a simple cookery lesson, without the child even realising it. 
Teaching children to cook also provides them with the freedom to use their imagination and explore a variety of ideas, as they experiment with different flavour combinations. This ultimately results in an incredible sense of achievement and pride as they taste the final product. It also lets them touch on the concept of responsibility, which can be accomplished through the simple task of tidying up after the food has been prepared.
As the children become more involved in the cookery lessons, many of them will start to improve their social development through the building of friendships and bonds with classmates. This then becomes a safe place in the mind of the child, allowing them the freedom to make mistakes that they can easily learn from. This process alone dramatically improves their confidence, and increases the feeling of belonging, as they work together to cook healthy food.

 

The benefits it can bring

  • It supplies them with important nutritional information.
  • It can start to alter their behaviour towards food in a positive way.
  • Creating a positive association with cooking will also encourage them to try new foods and tastes.
  • It teaches practical skills that can be transferred and applied to their home life.
  • It promotes social inclusion and team work.
  • It increases confidence and a sense of achievement.
  • It teaches responsibly, respect, and appreciation.
  • It teaches our children about Maths, English, Science, Geography and History in a fun and engaging way.
  • Children learn lifelong skills that they can pass on to future generations.
  • It creates memorable moments associated with food.

Conclusion

Leaning to cook is massively important to a child’s development and the benefits it can bring can have a lasting effect into adulthood. As a culture there will always be a struggle to fight against unhealthy eating. Supplying children with the opportunity to engage in cookery lessons should be high priority for all schools to explore.
At Mexa Thermal we are passionate about encouraging schools to involve children with practical cooking, our range of cook station products help make that possible.
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