Digging, planting, watering, feeding chooks;
chopping, washing vegetables, mixing and cleaning!
What I saw on my first day volunteering at Weeden Heights Primary School, in the Garden and Kitchen program, was way beyond the tasks the students were doing. I observed something magical! I was delighted when a student offered me gloves to get started in the garden. She barely knew me but showed such maturity and thoughtfulness. Some who had discovered sowbugs whilst digging potatoes demonstrated kindness by setting them out of the way of danger. Students also learnt the importance of regular watering to keep their vegetables alive.
The students weren’t simply gardening ,they were developing compassion and nurturing skills for plants, humans and everything in between (even creepy-crawlies), which is becoming increasingly important in our endeavour towards a more equitable and sustainable planet.
Nothing impressed me more than the energy and confidence that filled the kitchen during cooking. There was such a sense of order. Students delegated tasks amongst themselves, those with knife licences mentored their peers and they were all excited about working with fresh produce! Many students told me they loved cooking and described the specialty dish that they cook for their families. As a Dietician, I was amazed by the level of knowledge they had about fresh produce, their appreciation for tastes other than sweet and salty and their confidence in being self-sufficient in cooking.
I believe that this program at Weeden Heights Primary School is setting children on the right track to a healthier future.
To see some magic yourself, I highly recommend coming to school to volunteer!