I remember that when I was in middle school, my Home Ec teacher taught me to change a diaper. She also taught me how to sew an apron using a sewing machine. I’m pretty sure there were no boys in that class.
It all sounds so terribly old-fashioned and sexist now, really.
But in that class, I also learned how to cook. In those days of being a single-parented latch-key kid, it was important to know how to start supper when my mom had to work late. So it turned out to be a really relevant class.
Now that I have kids of my own, one of my hopes is that my children grow up knowing how to do similarly “old-fashioned” things. That they know how to boil an egg, write a thank-you note, sew on a button, use a screwdriver, grow a tomato plant, change a tire and cook a good meal. All the things that people of another generation would simply know how to do by the time they were close to adulthood. Their parents made sure they knew.
That’s one reason I’m a huge fan of the new cooking classes at George Watts Montessori — and why every school ought to consider offering them. Knowing how to grow food and cook are essential life skills. It warms my heart to see all these under-10 kids learning to harvest vegetables, use a knife properly, and keep a measuring cup level in order to get an accurate measurement. (Not to mention the math skills they’re forced to practice when measuring fractions of teaspoons. And the way they’re learning to equate cooking with fun.)
If you haven’t volunteered in your child’s cooking class yet, here’s what these fabulous sessions look like! All photos courtesy of Duke student Morgan Carney, who’s documenting our project.
Upper El students make “Superhero Salad,”
using tomatoes from the Edible Garden:
Primary students make Pesto Pasta,
using tomatoes and basil from the Edible Garden: