What do we do?
Helping Children to Love New Foods (and Talk About Them Too).
TastEd offers a system of fun sensory food lessons based on the Sapere method, which has been used with great success in many European counties for decades. In Sapere lessons – which have been tried and tested in Sweden, Finland, Norway and France, among other countries – a child learns to respond to many different foods – mostly vegetables and fruits – with all the five senses. Children also learn to expand the language they use for food and for expressing their own likes and dislikes.
TastEd came about after both Jason O’Rourke and Bee Wilson separately learned about the Sapere method. Bee researched Sapere for her 2016 book First Bite: How We Learn to Eat. Bee was inspired to learn about Sapere in Finland, where it has become a basic part of a child’s education in the country’s kindergartens. Meanwhile, also in 2016, Jason participated in Sapere conference in Norway where he met educationalists from around the world and decided to start trialling the method at his school Washingborough Academy in Lincolnshire. Jason and his teachers have seen immediate and tangible benefits from the TastEd lessons, with children seeking out and enjoying a wider range of foods than before. Bee has also taught the method and has been startled and encouraged to see how quickly children will try new foods – from a slice of sour lemon to a purple carrot – when they see their friends in the classroom doing the same.
Now, after a series of pilots at primary and secondary schools in Cambridge, as well as ongoing TastEd lessons at Washingborough Academy, we are in a position to offer TastEd teacher training and teaching materials.
These are not lessons in cooking but lessons in eating, which are easy and rewarding for teachers to deliver and tailored to the U.K. school curriculum. The lessons require very few resources and no cooking skills to teach, although they can also be used to support lessons in cooking and growing food.
We have worked with classroom teachers to develop lesson plans that use TastEd as a way to deliver core UK National Curriculum for Literacy (Speaking and Writing). A Reception teacher who has piloted TastEd says ‘it’s an amazing way to teach literacy because the children are so engaged and they produce great descriptions’.