Kitchen garden classrooms switch to home mode to support those self isolating
With some families and children isolating in their homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, programs traditionally offered onsite at early childhood education and care (ECEC) services have been modified to be used by parents and children at home.
More than 2,000 schools and early learning centres around Australia currently participate in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, designed to make healthy eating second nature for children by making it fun for them to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, seasonal and delicious food.
Recognising the importance of the program in helping families to stay well, keep connected and find moments of joy in this time of high pressure and competing priorities, Coles have donated $100,000 to Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation as it launches the ‘Kitchen Garden Program at Home’, a dedicated online resource including themed garden activities, recipes and curriculum links designed to support kitchen garden educators to continue teaching children about how to grow, harvest, prepare and share while learning from home.
Speaking on behalf of Coles, Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Ronson said the supermarket is “delighted” to help expand the program.
“When we partnered with the Foundation earlier this year, the aim was to help families live healthier and happier lives. Now that families need more inspiration in the kitchen than ever before, we are delighted to help bring this program to life with the help of a team of Coles chefs who are providing a step-by-step guide on how to have fun with your kids in the kitchen,” she continued.
Mandates to remain at home where possible, Stephanie Alexander said, have left families needing “basic activities they can all have fun with, regardless of their ability or circumstance.”
The Kitchen Garden Program At Home will help educators deliver the program to children even when they can’t attend education and care services, she added.
Through sharing 10 cents for the sale of Coles Australian Large Bagged Salads between 12 February and 24 March 2020, Coles has raised the $100,000 donation, which comes on top of the ongoing financial support Coles is providing to the Foundation to help spread the word about healthy eating.
Ms Alexander said the donation is “so important” to the work of the Foundation, as it enables the continuation of the work of the Kitchen Garden program, as well as helping the Foundation to reach the 18,000 schools and centres not yet involved.
“Most importantly it helps us communicate the same positive food messages to families, so that the children’s learning is reinforced in the home environment,” she said.
More information about the program in an ECEC context can be found here.