At Morven Park we have been lucky enough to be part of a ‘food forum’. A group of children from all years represent students’ views on school lunches. We are working closely with Donna Baines who is the Nottinghamshire County Council Food Development Manager.
The aims and objectives of the group are to:
Why food matters
Food is a global issue, of everyday importance to people and a necessity in life. We are all consumers, users and makers of food. If children are not educated about food from an early age they will still make food choices, develop preferences and find ways of meeting their food needs, but from a very low baseline of knowledge and understanding. Being out of control in this way makes them powerless, and passive rather than active citizens.
A little basic food education can make a real difference to the quality of people's lives. It empowers them to make choices and provides them with a greater range of options. Not to be educated about food has consequences for the quality of life.
Learning about food should be as practically involving an experience as possible because food presents people with everyday decisions to make and problems to solve. Children need to develop the knowledge, skills and practical capability to meet needs and requirements through appropriate responses to the challenges with which food presents them. As such, food has a role to play in linking aspects of education that relate to health, lifeskills and in preparing young people as informed citizens.
Where does food teaching happen?
Children begin their formal food education in primary schools. Food is a statutory part of the Key Stage 1 (5-7 years) and Key Stage 2 (7-11 years) curriculum in England, both within Design & Technology (D&T) and Science. Elements of nutrition and healthy eating may also be taught within Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) or work done in relation to Healthy Schools. In primary schools, food might also be the subject of topic work or provide a focus for literacy, numeracy or health education. Food presents excellent opportunities for work across the curriculum, above and beyond learning about food itself, as well as for teaching and learning through 'hands on' activities. The majority of children's practical experience with food in school is likely to take place within the D&T curriculum area, which focuses on learning 'about' materials, processes and products, as well as learning 'through' hands on experience with them.