From paddock to plate - a focus on food
Food is the focus at Goodstart Atwell
, with a range of culinary themed initiatives encouraging the children to make healthy choices and eat well.
A centre cookbook, cooking competitions, a veggie patch and a worm farm are some of the activities the centre is running to introduce children to the life cycle of food- from paddock to plate.
Centre director Rachel Hooton said the children’s interest in food and where it came from was sparked from an unlikely source.
“It actually started with the worms,” she said.
“We noticed that the worms in our worm farm weren’t eating so we started to talk about how to feed them and what sort of food they needed and it spiralled from there.
“After talking about food scraps, the natural progression was for the children to ask about the origins of different foods, which has prompted us to apply for a grant with Bunnings to help us set up our own fruit and vegetable garden,” she said.
After sparking the children’s interest in the origins of food, the centre then worked with the children and the families to produce their own Goodstart Atwell Cookbook.
The book was inspired by Nourished Beginnings- an organisation that is focussed on encouraging nutrition in early learning centres.
“After ordering the Nourished Beginnings cookbook we were inspired to work with our families and create our own cookbook that includes healthy, familiar recipes that the children love and that families can easily recreate at home,” Ms Hooton said.
The cookbook contains recipes from the centre’s weekly menus, as well as family contributed recipes including Crab Tarts, Sticky Honey Chicken, Grandma’s Pastries and Iranian Berry Pulao.
“We were also really focussed on making it as inclusive as possible, so all of the recipes have a vegetarian alternative or they provide ideas for substitutes for some of the ingredients if our families can’t eat them for cultural reasons or if anyone has allergies.”
“The books went so fast and our families are loving them with many saying they are making life easier because they don’t have to think about what to cook for dinner anymore and they know their children will actually eat the recipes,” she said.
“As a centre we play a crucial role in setting children up with lifelong healthy eating habits which is why we are focussed on encouraging our children to learn about food and enjoy healthy foods.”
Continuing on their food theme, the children at Goodstart Atwell are about to embark on a My Restaurant Rules themed cooking competition with the children going on an excursion to the local shopping centre to source ingredients and then cooking meals of their choice for their classes.