Established in 2013, in partnership with MONA’s 24 Carrot Gardens, WPS’s Kitchen/Garden Program is an integral part of our school’s Move Well, Eat Well supports. As well as providing multiple opportunities for Tier 2 support interventions, students in Years 3/4 participate in 40 minute fortnightly garden lessons and termly kitchen lessons to support their understanding of what it means to be healthy and safe.
In the garden, students are educated around a variety of fruit and vegetable types and the benefits of eating them, while learning safe gardening techniques, the wellbeing benefits of outdoor activities, providing connection to place, and supporting classroom learning for topics such as lifecycles in Science. This learning is planned and delivered by our Kitchen/Garden Teacher’s Assistant while the classroom teacher provides active supervision and duty of care over the class. The classroom teacher also reinforces this learning by referring to it in the classroom and providing cross-curricular links such as using the gardening activities as stimulus for writing or discussing the plants housed in the school’s Indigenous Garden (maintained by WPS’s Indigenous students) when unpacking Australian Indigenous culture, histories and perspectives.
Of a lunch time, the garden is frequently open for all students (Year1 and above) to engage in garden games and assist with the garden’s maintenance creating significant, connection and belonging for the whole school community. This is developed further through the school’s connection with MONA’s 24 Carrot Garden Program. Through this partnership, the school is supported to ensure the garden is functioning efficiently through the provision of resources and by supporting the school to run parent and community working bees. These working bees provide significant opportunity for parents to connect with what their students are doing at school in an area that most students feel very successful. Through 24 Carrot, students also gain opportunities to engage in other healthy eating and artistic activities through excursions to the 24 Carrot Botanic Institute, incursions with 24 Carrot guests and Year 6 participation in 24 Carrot Carnival.
In the kitchen, our Kitchen/Garden Teacher’s Assistant plans and delivers small group cooking activities out of the Science Lab/School Kitchen. These activities run for 40 minutes per group and focus on developing safe kitchen skills while unpacking what it means to eat healthily based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines. When possible, Kitchen classes have a whole class component at the end of the day where parents are invited to attend, listen to students’ reflections about their learning, and sample the food.