Bacchus Marsh Primary School is proud to be a member of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF) and to be able to introduce our students to the pleasures of preparing, cooking and eating a variety of foods they have grown and harvested themselves.
By allowing children to experience the widest possible range of delicious, fresh foods necessary to build healthy bodies, children will be equipped to make better food choices for the rest of their lives. As children are shown how to grow and care for fresh food and how to prepare and cook it, they will be an informed consumer, committed to sound sustainable growing practices and have developed valuable life enhancing skills.
At BMPS children in grades 3 to 6 have 45 minute garden sessions each fortnight. During this time students could be involved in activities, such as preparing new garden beds, making compost, developing a no-dig, planting seeds and seedlings, watering and fertilizing plants, pruning, weeding and practicing natural pest control methods. Then after all this hard work children will harvest fruits and vegetables for use in the kitchen.
Kitchen sessions are also run fortnightly for 90 minutes. Children work in small groups to prepare a component of a delicious meal that would be shared with their classmates and volunteers. As well as giving children new skills and the opportunity to experience different smells, tastes and textures, children also come to understand the seasonality of fruit and vegetables and the variety of ways these can be used.
We value this program so highly that we also run kitchen classes for students from Prep to Grade 2. Children enjoy eating simply prepared foods and snacks. These sessions run for 45 minutes fortnightly.
At BMPS, we are privileged and proud to have a beautiful and inviting kitchen in which to work, namely the Jennifer Hine Centre. This building was originally designed by Jennifer, who was the art teacher at the time, to be the Art Centre for the school. Students who attended our school in the 1980's helped to make the mud bricks for the building which was officially opened in 1984. During the first term of 2009, the centre was converted to our gorgeous kitchen with Jenny's blessing. The kitchen contains five well equipped workstations and a dining area.
The garden started out in the area between the former school residence and the new kitchen. It was designed by Paul Bangay. The garden has a lovely cottage feel to it, featuring a combination of vegetable beds, shrubs, roses and other perennial flowering plants that the children pick to adorn our dining tables.
This year another garden area is being established at the back of the school to allow for the increased production of vegetables and fruit.
This extensive program could not run without the valued assistance of marvellous volunteers. Their presence means that grades can be divided into small groups so that everyone has a
hands-on role whether it is in the garden or kitchen. Volunteers are there to offer guidance, suggestions and to monitor safe practices but always allowing the children to have ownership of the task at hand. Our volunteers are made up of parents, grandparents and interested people from the community. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or would like to see this wonderful program in action, please contact Kaye Smith, our kitchen/garden co-ordinator at the school.