In 2008 Bungwahl Public School was selected as one of the first 9 schools in NSW to be a national pilot school to implement The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. With the award of a grant ($65000.00) to build the infrastructure for a home style kitchen and creative garden for the children. By 2012, over 200 schools around Australia will be Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Schools, with around 20,000 children actively engaged in the Kitchen Garden Program each year. Now, that's a revolution!
Our children's Kitchen Garden was created to provide edible, aromatic and beautiful resources for their kitchen. The creation and care of this Kitchen Garden teaches our children about the natural world, about its beauty and how to care for it, how best to use the resources we have, and an appreciation for how easy it is to bring joy and wellbeing into one's life through growing, harvesting preparing and sharing fresh, seasonal produce.
Each week all our children across years 3-6 are discovering the pleasure of hands-on-food education through a 45 minute class in their edible garden, led by a Garden Specialist, and a 90 minute class in their new kitchen classroom, led by a Kitchen Specialist. The children are learning to build and maintain their garden, growing and harvesting a wide range of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. With this produce the children have been busy preparing delicious tastes, that they then share around beautiful tables, arranged with joy, pride and care with fresh flowers they pick from their garden. The sharing time is for our children, volunteers and teachers, to simply enjoy the delicious tastes they have created, in each other's company and conversation. So good are these experiences that our children have become seduced by the pleasures of good food and have developed an appreciation for the rituals and tastes of the table that will last with them for a lifetime.
Children aren't interested in whether something is ‘good for you' or ‘not good for you'. They only care if it's fun, exciting and tastes good, so that's what we aim to provide.
Supporting Learning Standards
Our kitchen garden program touches on all key learning areas.
Personal & Social Development through the development of social-emotional skills such as cooperation, communication and negotiation. Students build self-esteem, confidence and a sense of achievement through kitchen and garden activities.
Communication, which is essential to the small-group nature of the program. Reading and understanding technical instructions, expanding vocabulary and exploring language are weekly occurrences in the kitchen and garden classes.
Health & Physical Education by involving every child in a weekly 45min garden class and just the pure exposure to all these wonderful foods in the garden and the kitchen.
Creative Arts skills, which are demonstrated in the way students combine ingredients into beautiful food, collecting and arranging flowers and herbs, the children create absolutely beautifully set tables for them to all sit and share their meal creation at the end of their kitchen class.
The children are also involved in variety of Garden Art classes run with the support of our talented volunteer parents, these classes go from creating visually beautiful garden tanks, scarecrows, garden sculpures and garden signage.
Science & Sustainability through experiments in cross pollination, ph soil testing, water management, plant cycles and plant diversity, soil health and the absolute avoidance of chemicals.
Mathemathics skills such as collecting and graphing data, scale drawing, measurement, calculation, estimation and comparison, which have real life application in the kitchen and garden context.
Garden and Kitchen Specialist
All Kitchen Garden Schools must establish the staff roles of Garden Specialist and Kitchen Specialist to enable the planning and delivery of garden and kitchen classes. Specialists have the appropriate knowledge and skills to plan and deliver relevant activities for their classes. Many are non-qualified but passionate gardeners or cooks with an interest in working with children; others are qualified teachers, chefs or horticulturalists.
Specialist employment is managed by each individual school.
Showing your support
You can get involved and show your support for pleasurable food education in many ways...
Volunteer at our school
Volunteers have been an integral part of building our Kitchen/Garden. They have so far assisted with all stages – from mucking in at working bees as the kitchens and gardens are built, sourcing local sponsorships and media coverage and assisting with the children in kitchen and garden classes.
Now that our program is up and running, volunteers are the stars of our show, assisting our Kitchen/Garden Specialist and working directly with the students.
Our volunteers work with small groups of four to five students within the garden or kitchen class. They help with the activities and encourage the children to participate. They act as role models for the children, and the experiences of the children are enriched by our volunteers who bring with them a diversity of ages, backgrounds and experiences.
Anyone wishing to volunteer would be very warmly welcomed, this is a wonderful program to be part of and the children are just delightful to be around.
Please contact the school for further information.
While our school has received funding from the Australian Government towards the building of our kitchen and garden infrastructure, we are always in need of further assistance to help us sustain this program from the community and local businesses. Donations of labour, goods or financial support are all gratefully received and can make a real difference to our school.
Bunnings Our Garden Partner
As a Kitchen Garden School we benefit enormously from community and business partnerships. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Bunning's for their constant support in sponsoring us with our gardens needs.