McAuley cooking class

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I’m not sure there is anything louder than the cheers coming from year three students who have just been asked: “Who wants more pancakes?”

McAuley Principal Nicole Jones with year 3 students. PHOTO: Benjamin Conolly

The cheers rang off the walls as Mrs. Jones, McAuley Catholic Primary School’s Principal began loading up the plates and taking them to the topping stations for their pick of lemon and sugar, bananas and the much loved maple syrup.

Miss Hurley’s year threes were over the moon to be taking part in their first cooking class, a new initiative of McAuley where a small kitchen has been set up in a spare classroom to allow students a practical learning experience.

The students took turns shaking pancake mix while Miss Hurley and Mrs Jones attended to the hot stove, reminding students of the importance of standing back from the hot stove and safe practices with kitchen utensils.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the class and enjoy the pancakes the students made, taking advice on choice of toppings from the pancake-eating expert 8-year-old kids, one of whom told me it’s best “when you just tip the sugar on top and watch it pour out.”

Year three weren’t the only ones to have their first cooking class this week. Other year groups were treated to green eggs and ham, muffins and other snacks. Year 6 were treated to an expert Italian cooking class where they made their own pizzas from scratch.

Miss Hurley and Mrs Jones with some year 3 master chefs. PHOTO: Benjamin Conolly

The cooking class is part of an ongoing push from the staff at McAuley, led by Principal Nicole Jones, to transfer learnt skills in to practical experiences.

“They learn measurements in math class and procedures in English,” Mrs Jones explained. “A cooking class is a chance for them to actually use those skills.”

Mrs Jones has future plans for McAuley’s cooking classes including a school garden where students can grow vegetables and herbs to use in their cooking.

“The idea was to teach the students garden to plate cooking,” said Mrs Jones. “We’d like to set up a whole nature space along the front of the school.”

“We are lucky enough to have supportive parents who have been very generous with cooking equipment and one who is going to buy some garden beds for our garden and nature space.

“She said she had been gardening with the kids during the COVID isolation period and they loved it, so she’d like to buy those for the school. Once we have all that set up, the students can see the whole process from growing it to cooking it.”

“It’s to give them a whole education, we love the academic side, but they need to have things that they can do with it. It’s making it real life content.

“It’s about having fun and having experiences that they may not be able to have at home.”

Lots of fun in McAuley’s new kitchen classroom. PHOTO: Benjamin Conolly