Garden to Table; the importance of including kids in the kitchen 


At Creative World of Montessori our students learn many practical life skills in our primary classrooms. Curriculum includes lessons in pouring liquids, washing dishes, folding laundry, and peeling oranges. These life skills help students feel important by teaching them how to contribute at home with family chores and also build a sense of independence. 

In the garden students learn how to prepare growing beds, plant seeds, water, weed and harvest. Many weeks the harvest is available for families to take home from the front desk, but other weeks it is held back so the students have an opportunity to help prepare recipes from the garden. 

Helping in the garden and the kitchen helps kids build confidence and feel accomplished. They must learn how to properly handle and safely use tools, follow directions and work together to be successful. Spending time in the kitchen as a family helps kids bond and build relationships. It is also an opportunity to teach them about nutrition and eating a balanced diet for good health. The more a child is connected to a meal, the more invested they are in trying it and liking new and healthy foods. 

Most parents would be amazed to see their children asking for second servings of fresh pesto sauce or kale from the garden, but they do. The few students who are hesitant to try fresh foods from the garden are often encouraged by their classmates to eat, and when they do it is rare that a child does not enjoy. Fresh tomatoes, green beans and sugar snap peas rarely make it to our harvest basket as they are eaten up by the students picking them. 

Here are a few simple recipes your children may have experienced in the garden.

  1. Fresh kale: Gently massage olive oil onto individual kale leaves, cut the thick stem out of the middle and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Some students like a little fresh lemon juice squeezed on top.
  2. Kale chips. Same recipe as above but spread on a baking sheet with parchment paper and 25-30min at 300 degrees.
  3. Garden Pesto:  In class we add a few handfuls of fresh basil, a garlic clove, olive oil and water with a little salt and pepper and pulse it in the blender until smooth. We dip into it with fresh tomatoes from the garden, but pesto can be eaten with pasta, on pizza or used as a dipping sauce. At home, if there are no allergies you might also add pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
  4. Carrot beet juice: Seriously, your kids like this☺ While I use a juice machine at school, here is a recipe that does not require one.

5. Raw zucchini noodles: Wash and spiral fresh zucchini, add a little olive oil and salt and pepper. These noodles can also be enjoyed with fresh pesto