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There I was sitting with my research for the sequel for KOOTANCHORU and realized that Dipali, Art, PG and Sue have already listed the major concepts in the comments section.

Dipali says,

“Great for mathematical concepts like weight, volume, division etc. Starting from purchasing of ingredients- costs of different things. Scientific concepts:The change that heat brings about to raw ingredients. How different ways of cooking can give a different end product with the same ingredient. Textures, odours, sizes, shapes- there’s a whole world of things to be learned and taught:)
Haven’t even scratched the surface yet!”

Artnavy takes it a step further and expands into the concept that food and culture go hand in hand. She says,

“u can teach about flavours- festivals- what the Gods like
temperature- ice- water – steam- pressure etc
weight colour texture shapes
vitmains- calories etc
of course satisfaction/ harmony./ organising skills/ leanring from mistakes and the whole team thingie are all a huge part of it”

PG’s point resonates with me when she says,

“In today’s times it is so important to realise the importance of healthy eating which is only possible through learning cooking. To learn about the basics of a balanced diet. And learning to develop taste for good food, I think, is very important for a healthy lifestyle too.”

Sue is looking in to the present as well as the past when she says,

“Great for teaching kids about household safety — how to handle fire, knives. Also great for hygiene. Also, the basic cleaning up most cooks do is great practice for when the kids have homes of their own.
They also learn how to store foodstuffs, grow herbs, mix and match tastes and smells. If you let them wash their own aprons and washcloths, the older ones learn basic hand laundering and stain removal skills. They may sound unimportant but they make such a big difference to one’s adult life!
Oh and if they cook in an assembly line — say for sandwiches or salads or whatever — it’s a good lesson in every role being an important one, no matter how small it seems.”

The learning that occurs in young children can be classified in to three main categories – social, physical and logico-mathematical. Cooking is a scientific process that effectively covers all the three categories.

For example take the process of making a basic scrambled egg recipe with your child. The steps would be as follows:

  • Take x number of eggs.
  • Break in to a bowl.
  • Add a dash of salt and a dash of pepper. For the heck of it add a drop of food coloring. Even adults love green/orange eggs right?!
  • Beat well with a fork.
  • Heat a tava.
  • Add oil.
  • Add eggs.
  • Cook and enjoy.

Every family has its own style. Some might add raw onions, fried onions, a bit of salsa, veggies, cheese..etc. Every family personalizes the basic recipe in to something that characterizes their style. Heck, some families eat eggs only on certain days based on religious restrictions. We are now talking about the social knowledge that is closely associated with food. We convey our macro culture as well as micro culture through food.

Physical knowledge is not just spatial awareness that can be learned through jumping and running. But it is the learning that comes with doing things physically. By touching, tasting, smelling. If the outcome is directly related to the action and can be varied by varying the initial action, the learning is rich. What better field to test and experiment that cooking? Very true in my kitchen. To hubby’s utter displeasure, I change my recipes every time. When I say rasam, he is not sure what he is getting till he tastes it. For more sad stories contact R@don’t_screw_up_my_fav_food_#$%&*!.com

Logico-mathematical refers to the math and science concepts that can be learned through cooking.

When you interpret a recipe for a child like this, imagine the symbolic association the child forms! She learns that picture=word=thought=print=language.

One learns to count, not just on paper, but in the real sense, “One means one of an object, two means two of the same object”

Counting_cooking

One learns to compare. Half cup is more than a quarter cup, but less than one cup. Plus they get a meaning full introduction in to part-whole relationship A.K.A fractions.

Measure_cooking

Through their senses they learn what it really means by solids and liquids.

Property_cooking

Older kids learn to estimate. If I need one person needs two eggs, how many eggs do two people need? This forms basis for set theory, ratio, proportion, one-to-one-correspondence, multiplication and addition.

Estimate_cooking

 

Correspondence_cooking

Cooking needs to flow in a certain order. So children learn about sequence and concept of time.

Sequence_cooking

They observe transformation. When we warm butter it melts and later solidifies back to butter. When we heat butter, the fat separates and forms clarified butter. Now it will not revert back to butter. When we heat eggs, it curdles.

Transformation_cooking

They learn how things work. Just look at the different kitchen tools in this picture. Isn’t it amazing that every utensil has a specific work. Now, we can’t flip an omelet using a soup ladle can’t we!

Utensils_cooking

And you know what, this is just the tip of ice berg!

Next post: resources and practical how to’s.

On a totally unrelated note, how many of you think about Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina when you break eggs? “It’s all in the wrist”. Thousands of eggs in the past 15 years and I think about this every single time. See cooking brings back memories. May be trivial but will most certainly fill you with happiness :)

[tags]early child education. child development, kootanchoru, cooking for kids, cooking to learn, preschool curriculum, kids[/tags]