An online school holiday programme encouraging children to cook for their families has been so successful the Te Puna mother and daughter team who ran it are planning to do it again this year.
“It was hard work but so much fun and as a pilot, the programme was very successful,” says Glenda Gourley, who, with daughter her 18-year-old daughter Claire ran the week-long Bosch School Holiday Cooking Programme.
Mother and daughter Glenda and Claire Gourley’s on-line school holiday cooking programme has been so successful it’s likely to be repeated later in the year.
“We will definitely do another one, but I’m not sure for which school holidays yet.”
Claire, who is studying law and economics at university in Auckland, fronted the programme online, setting challenges each day as well as posting recipes for the children to cook.
“We had children from throughout the country, with quite a few from Christchurch, and what we hadn’t counted on was the number of parents and grandparents, who were involved with their children. That was a real bonus,” says Glenda.
Planning is underway for other online activities around cooking and healthy eating, including some aimed at helping parents understand the importance of getting children `food savvy’.
“One of the most pleasing aspects of the programme was the number of families who sat down to enjoy a meal and conversations together. Research shows that the family dining table is pivotal to a child’s development,” says Glenda, who has been involved in many nutrition education strategies and has written more than 15 cook books and manuals for the Heart Foundation and producer groups.
The aim of the programme was to do more than keep children entertained. Glenda and Claire set out to help them learn to cook and get them food savvy - as well as having fun.
They believe giving children the skills to take 100 per cent responsibility for what they eat, and how much exercise they take, is one way to address the problem of obesity.
The budding cooks received a copy of Claire’s cook book, ‘Who’s Cooking Tonight?’, as well as online support and the chance to win daily prizes.
Parents received a copy of Glenda’s latest book, ‘Life Love Food Kids’, full of strategies and practical tips on how to raise food savvy kids.
The duo got plenty of exercise running the programme.
“It was full on and we were frantically juggling tasks to keep up with the children and the questions they were asking.”
When one child sent in a photo of chopping vegetables, the scramble was on to find the link to Claire’s You Tube clip of how to use a knife safely to put up for all to see.
“As far as we know no one lost any fingers,” says Claire.
It was the feedback the mother and daughter received from children and parents, which has spurred them on to do it all again.
One mother told how proud she was to come home from work to a meal her children had cooked themselves. Another said her teenage son and daughter had taken part and instead of squabbling, had enjoyed each other’s company and produced some great food.
Children sent pictures of themselves performing the RAK (Random Act of Kindness) challenge, taking home baking to neighbours, or cooking the perfect boiled egg. They were also invited to send in bloopers – which included too much blue colouring, or adding salt instead of sugar to a cake recipe.
“Cooking has become something of a spectator sport thanks to programmes like Master Chef, which don’t actually inspire people to cook, so it was very pleasing to have so many children keen to spend part of their holidays cooking and loving it,” says Glenda.
To find out more go to www.foodsavvykids.com/