Research from home appliance company Zanussi reveals there’s a generation of ‘Little Chefs’ on the rise in London, with children as young as five helping to cook family meals and taking a greater interest in their food.
A Summer poll of parents in the city with primary school children (aged 5-11) found that 51% learned to cook a meal in recent months, with tasks mastered including peeling potatoes (33%), reading and following a recipe (28%), making a pasta dish (25%) and boiling vegetables (18%). 37% said their child has developed healthier eating habits as a result, while 24% have noticed less food lingering on plates at the end of mealtimes.
And it appears these newfound skills are having a wider effect on the overall development of our children. 56% of parents stated their child is more independent as a result of being able to cook, 47% also said they are more confident, and more than a third (29%) claimed their child has shown more resilience.
The poll was commissioned by Zanussi, part of the Electrolux group, The Electrolux Food Foundation and non-profit organisation Cook School, who have teamed up to launch a 10-week online cooking course for schools in London to implement as part of their lessons, designed to get children excited about food and learning how to cook healthy and nutritious recipes.
22 primary schools in the city have already signed up to the programme, including Earlsmead Primary School, Gallions Primary School, St James’ C of E Primary School, Riversdale Primary and Oakdale Infants, amongst others. Additionally, 11 Primary Schools in Clerkenwell are using the course for after school clubs, following the programme over a series of weeks.
The 10-week online programme is free for schools to use and will be taught by children who are part of the Cook School community in the form of 30-minute online videos. Schools can sign up at any time and teachers will receive lesson plans and recipe cards to create healthy, sustainable meals with their class.
Child Development Expert Anita Cleare says; “The earlier you can get your child interested in what they are eating and where it comes from, the easier it will be to encourage them to eat a varied and balanced diet. It’s fantastic to see Zanussi and Cook School encouraging this continued development in the classroom with peer-to-peer lessons, to enable even more children to develop a passion for cooking, equipping them with the knowledge to eat healthily and sustainably throughout their lives.”
Chris George, UK Head of Marketing at Zanussi says; “Research shows that children who learn to cook at an early age make healthier food but also better lifestyle choices, as they grow up. That’s why it’s important we help primary age children across the UK to develop these skills, which will also help them become more confident and resilient. Through our partnership with Cook School, we aim to provide children, their families, and teachers with a unique resource to continue to nurture a child’s new-found skills from the time they’ve spent with their parents during the Summer.”
Amanda Grant, Founder of Cook School says; “Our mission at Cook School is very simple; to help children to understand food, and to teach them how to cook basic, healthy meals, giving them the skills and the confidence to take what they have learnt back home. I am so excited that we are now able to offer this new digital programme to primary aged children for the new school year, using the momentum of the skills that the younger generation have developed in recent months. We’re extremely grateful to both Zanussi and the Electrolux Food Foundation for the continued support, enabling us to reach even more schools and young children across the UK.”
The Cook School digital programme is now open for applications. All schools have to do is send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org to express an interest in the programme and then they will be contacted to sign up.