The school in the small town of Varekil has opened up the doors between the kitchen and the classroom. A day’s seminar about the Sapere method became the starting point for the school kitchen’s involvement in teaching. The pupils are taught to try new tastes and to find words to describe their sensations.
“The lesson we had with Mahtab was great fun! We eat more vegetables now and we aren’t afraid to try anything,” Jennie, Julia and Jenniffer from grade 5 assured us.
Kitchen and classroom working together
“What we hope is that our example will spread throughout the other local schools and more and more schools will join in,” says Mahtab, kitchen manager at Varekil school. ”We have been encouraging the teaching staff here, Sapere is a method they can use.”
“I tried stuff I’d never tried before at school lunch, and it was good! So now I try everything,” says Erman, from grade 5.
“We learned not to let our eyes trick us,” Erman’s friend Adam continued and added that some things tasted a lot better than he’d thought.
Mahtab’s lesson about food and sensations has made an impact. The pupils now eat more vegetables and they reflect on how their sensations are stimulated during meals. And of course it was fun too, an educational lesson that made the pupils want to eat and dare to try new foods.
“The response was immediate,” class teacher Eva Widenhielm tells us. “The day right after the lesson the pupils wanted to try everything that was served in the school dining hall. We were working with the theme, the human body and the Sapere method fitted perfectly. Mahtab presented us with an excellent concept!”
Varekil lies on the west coast island of Orust where food and meals are a natural part of working with public health. Anna Sandberg is the local public health coordinator and the contact for the School Meals Project.
“School meals are part of developing our schools,” says Anna, “and it’s important everyone is on board. We have an active group of teaching staff and school meals staff working on this. We work together with paediatricians and school nurses, and with their help we have produced a very useful folder full of valuable advice for school trips, outings and celebrations. The idea for the folder cropped up when the school questioned the pupils’ sugar consumption. They sent out tough directives about the sugar content in food served in the school and we decided to implement the same standards throughout the municipality.”
There is high demand for this folder, we noticed this shortly afterwards, the very same day Varekil school ran out of folders and Mahtab took the opportunity to order more while Anna was visiting the school.
Anna-Carin Liljesson, a teacher in the school, runs the pupil council.
“We do a lot of work round the school meals. The school dining hall has opened up and we have excellent dialogue with the meals staff. It’s important to have pleasant surroundings, we discuss this a lot with the pupils and refer to the dining hall as a restaurant. Nowadays families don’t always eat together at home. School meals have an important role to play,” emphasizes Anna-Carin, “The school can set a good example.”
To find joint projects, the meals staff and the teachers have to meet up and brainstorm, according to Anna Sandberg.
“That’s really what it’s all about, there are no natural meeting points in the working day. When we started working with the School Meals Academy we all sat down together and came up with lots of really good ideas. Teachers and school meals staff need to work more together, it is just so important.” Anna-Carin has advice for teachers everywhere, “Get help from the kitchen staff. If they are interested in coming into the classroom, like Mahtab, make the most of their expertise!”