The Children’s Kitchen
The Children’s Kitchen Family Food Sessions.
The Children’s Kitchen is a city-wide project based in Bristol’s Nursery Schools. The Children’s Kitchen is a Feeding Bristol project which is focused on the areas of the city with the highest levels of food insecurity and links with the FOOD Clubs that are run within the settings. The project is led by chef Jo Ingleby who was the winner of the BBC Cook of the Years Award in 2015 for her work with Early Years children at Redcliffe Children’s Centre. The project establishes regular Food Sessions during the nursery day where children can explore fresh produce which is either Fareshare surplus or home grown. The children explore and taste the fresh ingredients that their parents may be bringing home from FOOD Club, so they already have experience of a new ingredient before it is served to them in a meal. The Children’s Kitchen also coordinates the demonstrations and food activities within the FOOD Clubs to provide a link between what the children are doing in nursery with what they are eating at home.
The Children’s Kitchen Food Sessions are not conventional cookery classes; instead, they are entirely led by exploring fresh produce and encouraging children to touch, feel, smell and taste foods that often they have not tried before. This might be fresh Peas in the summer or large Squash in winter; adults can help them to do this safely using age appropriate cookery skills. Food Sessions do not follow recipes or expect predictable outcomes; they involve play, enquiry, experimentation, and child led learning. They are never based on cooking cake, biscuits, or other sweet treats as we are always conscious that early years children should be eating less sugar.
Professional Development and hands on learning sessions build the skills and understanding of practitioners so that the project becomes a sustainable. The project also develops edible growing spaces in the settings so that children can plant, nurture and harvest fresh produce.
The project brings together several leading organisations and charities within Bristol to focus on Early Years children and their experience of food. Partner organisations include Incredible Edible Bristol, 91ways, The Square Food Foundation, Travelling Kitchen and a team of project developers who are experience food and growing practitioners. Each Children’s Kitchen setting is also working towards the Food for Life Early Years Award with support and mentoring from the Food for Life team. The Children’s Kitchen is bringing a focus on food into Early Years settings by linking with other projects and groups across the city and also training practitioners to feel confident to work with food and growing so that the work is sustainable and part of the day to day life of the setting.
Bristol Early Years Food Contact