Sharing TastEd with School Families and Communities
As part of Prendergast Primary’s Food Week, each class from Reception to Year 6 experienced a different TastEd lesson every day. But, lessons weren’t exclusively for children. Parents and carers in years 3-6 were invited to a Food Week Assembly as part of the Harvest celebration for a taste of what their children were experiencing at school.
Given TastEd’s unique approach to exploring foods with children, Headteacher Viv Nicholls thought it important to bring parents and carers along on this new food journey with TastEd, and give them a chance to experience the fun and joy of exploring food using the senses. She assumed most people had not listened to celery before.
Using the simple structure of the TastEd lessons, the assembly explored the many colours and shapes of seasonal squashes.
Using the sense of sight it was additionally linked to the school’s Harvest Festival. The mini TastEd lesson with the children demonstrated how incredibly excited the children were to just look at novel, funny shaped squashes and pumpkins. The children were keen to share what squash shapes reminded them of, one child seeing the Blue Prince Squash like a flying saucer.
Parents witnessed the unexpected and sheer delight children gain from just looking at the weird and wonderful squashes, as each one was revealed. Curly tromboncino squashes caused loud squeals of delight, teeny cinderella pumpkins were instantly recognised, whilst pert onion squashes were likened to christmas baubles. The simplicity of the experience made the assembly a joyful, stimulating and engaging experience. Highly unexpected by parents.
Children were keen to share with parents the much loved Golden Rules of TastEd (‘No one has to try’, and ‘No one has to like’). When given a chance to reflect on whether they liked this group of vegetables, how they like to eat them and why, many shared their dislikes with confidence. Parents were keen to feedback on how conversations carried on at home. One Year 4 mum said “After the assembly, we agreed we’d all try new things, if we wanted to, including me who realised I had some funny food ideas, mostly around texture which I had never really thought about before”. Other families have commented how using the Golden Rules at family meal times has reduced arguments about eating dinner.
Seeing TastEd in action and appreciating how simply using the senses with children to discuss food surprisingly caught the attention of an incredible number of parents, many of them frustrated by mealtime battles and narrow palates. All the principles of TastEd can be used at home, and there is a growing range of resources for parents to use. Much like learning to read, TastEd’s approach needs to be reinforced by parents, if children are ever to develop a genuine love and preference for fruit and vegetables. Assemblies are just one fun way to share this in a school community.
If you’re a parent or carer and would like to see TastEd at your child’s school then head here to download a letter that can be sent to the school explaining what TastEd is and how they can get involved.
If you’re a school that has already signed up to TastEd you can access ideas and powerpoints for your school assembly by logging into the TastEd Schools Hub. If you’ve not already signed up then you can do so here.