Taste & Teach Program a Hit at La Primaria

Taste & Teach Program a Hit at La Primaria

     Kindergartners and kale don’t typically go together but for kindergartners in Carrie Johnson’s class at La Primaria School they do, as the class is participating in weekly cooking lessons using kale and other fruits and vegetables harvested from their garden.  The weekly lessons are part of a $1200 Taste and Teach grant Ms. Johnson received from Stater Bros. Charities.  

      The flourishing organic garden boxes outside the classroom are blooming with a variety of kale including black Italian kale, purple kale, cavolo nero kale, as well as white cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, Brussels sprouts, Swiss Chard and strawberries.

      “My students get so excited when they see the vegetables growing and love being able to eat the items they grow,” said Johnson.  “For our weekly cooking lessons they look forward to harvesting the vegetables from the garden that we are going to use in our recipes.”

       Recently the young chefs made what they named a “Fun Healthy Salad” with kale, apples, grapes and almonds.  Along with learning about and tasting new foods, students are expanding their vocabulary and language as well as building fine motor skills by chopping, dicing and mixing their recipes. 

      “The Taste and Teach program and our cooking lessons build so much language,” said Johnson. “It’s wonderful to see my students so passionate about the program which is expanding their academic, fine motor and social skills.”

       As he was busy chopping the kale, Jonathan shared that he helps his mom when she’s cooking.

      “It’s fun to cut the vegetables and make stuff,” he said.  “It’s like we are chefs. I help my mom at home a lot.”

      Anthony’s favorite thing is watching the plants grow.

      “Our garden is big and I like making the plants grow by taking care of them,” he said.  “I like that we can eat the stuff we grow.”

         The students look forward to their weekly cooking, and creating delicious and healthy snacks and meals.   A few weeks ago the class used the organic cavolo nero kale in their garden to make Tortellini Soup with fresh vegetables which got a big thumbs up from all the students, even the pickiest eaters. 

        The program also promotes the importance of healthy eating and the students are becoming quite aware of making good food choices.  Their awareness was evident as Ms. Johnson lovingly addressed her students as sugars and Maria, who was busy cutting grapes for the salad quickly corrected her saying,

“We are not sugars, we are healthies!”

         Two other MVSD teachers also received the Taste and Teach grant, Kathleen Grant, a 4th grade teacher at Payne School and Christina Villareal a 2nd grade teacher at Monte Vista School.

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