Today I began one of my volunteer positions for the semester, CookShop. This awesome program, funded by the Food Bank for New York City, teachers kindergarten, first and second graders in low income neighborhoods about the joys of cooking. Each teacher that would like to participate is provided with weekly lesson plans for the year. Cookshop recruits volunteers to help in specific classrooms. I spoke with my teacher briefly via email over the weekend, but I had no idea what to expect. When I arrived to the classroom today at 11:45, I was welcomed with open arms (and lots of hugs) by an eager group of about 20 first graders.
Today's lesson: beans. Our first lesson of the day was to "plant" some lima beans in a plastic cup with wet paper towels. Over the next several weeks, we will be watching our beans sprout into plants. The next lesson was all about beans. We viewed 5 different types of beans: kidney, chick peas, green beans, lentils. We looked at the beans in their dry form, and then ate a small sample of the soaked beans. Some of the kids loved the beans, while others described them as "nasty." What I really like about these lessons is how we are trying to get children to talk about what they do or do not like about the food they are tasting. It is okay for a food to taste "nasty," but we want to know why it tastes that way.
By the end of my two hours, I was completely exhausted. To every teacher I know: I have the utmost respect for your job. I am in awe of how you are able to do that day in and out.
The teacher I am working with, Ms. Thomas, is great. We discussed my role as a volunteer, and decided I will be leading future CookShop sessions. I am really excited for this new weekly opportunity!