Program and Volunteer Information
Aim of the Kitchen Garden Program
The aim of the Kitchen Garden Program is to introduce young children to the wonderful world of good food through developing a productive food garden and an exciting kitchen that includes a nurturing place to share food, as an integral part of the school curriculum.
We hope to engage the curiosity of the students and to help them learn how to grow the very best food in the very best way, how to care for it in the garden, how to recognise when it is ripe and at its best, how to prepare it easily and enjoyably and how to develop an expanding culinary palate and be excited by all these experiences.
We want to convince children to modify their eating habits because the food they are experiencing tastes so good rather than because they are being told to eat some foods and not others! To find out more about the Program please visit their website →
What you can expect from us
- Recognition – we know that the success of the Program lies in the continual support of our volunteers, as much as the work of everyone else in the team.
- Support from the Kitchen and Garden Specialists – at the beginning of every session your Specialist will provide you with an outline of the lesson, which they will also give to the class when it begins. The Kitchen or Garden Specialist and the Classroom Teacher are present for each lesson as well as other fabulous volunteers.
- A thoroughly rewarding experience – in a healthy, safe and friendly working environment, full of people wanting to participate in the joy of growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing real food.
Guidelines for Volunteers
Your role as a volunteer is essential for the success of the Kitchen Garden Program!
Each week the kitchen and garden classes usually begin with the Kitchen and Garden Specialists speaking to the whole class, giving them an overview of the day’s session and explaining what will happen.
Then the children are divided into smaller groups and begin their designated tasks. A volunteer is allocated to each of these small groups to work with the children, encouraging them to participate and share the tasks that have to be done.
The Specialist is then free to circulate among the groups to make sure the goals of the lesson are being met.
Some useful tips for volunteers
Go to the online SignUp and sign-up to the class you wish to help out in. All volunteers must sign-up before attending the class and there is a maximum of four volunteers permitted per class (please, no toddlers allowed).
Arrive at the agreed time before the class starts to be briefed by the Kitchen or Garden Specialist on the day’s class activities. Please ensure that you notify the relevant Specialist in good time if you are unable to attend or will be late for a session.
Firm & kind instruction
Your role is one of facilitator, rather than leader. Set a good example. Everyone is there to learn and have fun. Volunteers are not expected to be the disciplinarians, so seek intervention form the Specialist if the firm-but-kind approach doesn’t seem to be working!
Encourage all the children in the group to participate and share the load. Demonstrate and supervise, but don’t do all the work. Ask the children how
they might do something first, then show them if necessary. Don’t tell them how straight away.
Talk to the children about what they see, hear, touch, taste and smell as they go about their tasks in the kitchen and garden.
Practise safe bending and tool use in the garden and care with knives and heat in the kitchen and always instruct children to do the same.
Making a mess and getting dirty doesn’t really matter; however, cleaning up at the end of the class does. You may need to be firm with the children to ensure this is done properly (although often they are happy and proud to take care of this themselves).
We are all learning as we go and welcome all suggestions, ideas and feedback on how we can continue to make the Kitchen Garden Program a best-practice model.
The children and staff eagerly anticipate the garden and kitchen classes and are always keen to learn more and be as hands-on as possible. Encourage
a sense of enjoyment – that’s what the Program is all about. We want every volunteer to enjoy their time in the Kitchen Garden Program.
Volunteers Working With Children
For your first time volunteering at our school, please go to the office and ensure you have filled out the volunteer form and supplied the necessary photo ID at least 24 hours before volunteering.
Once you have done this, simply sign in at the office before each Kitchen or Garden class.
For more information about the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program visit their website →