Tuesday 23 July 2024
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Nursery children learn to prepare healthy food at home thanks to council scheme

Nursery children have been learning how to grow, chop and cut vegetables with the help of a trial scheme.

Regular classes have been held in nurseries and FOOD clubs across Mansfield and district to empower children and families to explore food in an exciting and informal way.

The project, supported by the charity Feeding Britain, aims to increase food knowledge to early years children (2-5 years old) and families across Mansfield and included talking about cooking, growing produce, recycling, and food waste.

Executive Mayor of Mansfield, Andy Abrahams, said the trial was a fantastic chance for children to learn more about healthy food options.

He said: “The scheme is a trailblazer for Nottinghamshire and is a brilliant way for children to learn that their food does not come from the nearby supermarkets; a lot more goes into getting it to the plate.

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“The scheme has been encouraging young children to develop a taste for fresh produce through exploring food in their own way, following their interests and senses rather than recipes.

“There have been no strict recipes or set up to each class to encourage active participation from the children. The team has seen this make the children feel empowered to make their own informed choices about food, resulting in more enjoyable sessions.

“It also supports existing initiatives such as FOOD Clubs to provide cookery activities for families. Not just increasing skills but providing free, or nearly free, produce for low-income families.

“I am thrilled we have more sign-ups to the scheme and look forward to more children experimenting and learning about healthy food.”

As well as learning about the different types of fruit and vegetables, the children have also been growing crops at their school from seeds, learning about sustainable horticulture and environmentally friendly ways of producing food, and harvesting them once grown.

They have also increased their confidence in kitchen equipment by learning nifty techniques to cut large vegetables at home safely.

An Oak Tree Primary School spokesperson said: “The Children’s Kitchen scheme has been a fantastic initiative for our children. The pupils are gaining experience on how food can be chopped and prepared safely and where fruit and vegetables come from, first-hand with the growing of our own crops on site.

“Following the first few lessons, the children have been eager to learn more each time, and seeing their interest in food and their cognitive skills improve from this has been a joy to watch. We recommend this scheme to every nursery provider in Mansfield as its benefits are far-reaching.”

The Children’s Kitchen scheme was the brainchild of Feeding Bristol, part of the Feeding Britain network, and has supported Mansfield in delivering the pilot scheme.

Andrew Forsey, National Director of Feeding Britain, added: “’The Children’s Kitchen forms a crucial part of the Feeding Mansfield programme.

“It is equipping children with food-related skills and knowledge from an early age, in a fun and innovative way, and we are delighted that it will continue into the new school year.”

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