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Dining Time Interaction

(Excerpt from the book Creative Learning by Vijoy Prakash)

Dining time is another great occasion for learning. Dining together in a family situation is helpful not only in binding the family together, it helps in understanding likes and dislikes of family members also. It is also useful in effecting emotional closeness among family members.

Traditionally, mother and grandmother used to remain present during dining time of the children and other persons, even if they were not dining themselves. This was helpful in showing concern for the family members.

Dining time interactions can be an extremely useful period for learning. This period could be used for

• Learning the experiences of the children during the day in the school and outside.
• Telling the experience of parents during the day.
• Telling the history of the family and the village.
• Discussion on the problems encountered during the day by different members of the family and possible solutions thereof
• Story/puzzle/jokes telling session by children/parents
• Discussion on any news items or important events of the day.

Develop taste sense during Dining

Dining is a big occasion, when taste sense can be easily developed. Young children may be asked to keep their eyes closed. Sweets or juice may be placed on their tongue and they should be asked to identify the object. Gradually, they should identify the constituents of two or three fruits taken together or items of mixed salad or even spice of curry. They can gradually develop the habit of identification of the concentration of sugar or fruit solution. Who knows this process may make him a scientist or a tea or wine taster of high calibre.

Start learning in Kitchen

Elementary learning should have heavy inputs from home and kitchen. Since the learner continuously interacts with the physical environment at home, contents of learning should be picked up from house and kitchen items. One of the fundamental principles of creative learning is to ignite the process of creativity from the items that the learner interacts during his/her day- to-day activities.

James watt could invent the steam engine by watching the power of steam coming out of a kettle. Newton learnt about the Laws of Gravitation in a garden. Learners can develop basic competencies while sitting in the lap of mother in the kitchen.

Often teachers/parents appreciate the importance of learning in kitchen, but they don’t have the idea as to how kitchen activities can be linked with learning. Some of the ideas useful in this context are :

  • Initiate the learning of regular and geometrical shapes from the shapes of various articles in the kitchen. For example
    • Circular – Bread, Puri, Hot plate
    • Rectangular – Stove
    • Triangular – Tripod
    • Pentagonal- Ladies finger 
    • Cylindrical- Glass, bucket, water filter, etc.
  • Learn to differentiate between different colours by handling colours of various fool items.
    • Red- Tomato
    • White- Milk, Flour
    • Green- Vegetables
    • Blue- Brinjal
    • Yellow- pulse
  • Learn the concept of weight & measures in the kitchen items. For example
    • Paila – to measure rice/flour
    • Glass – Water/Milk
    • Scales- Rice, flour, vegetables, etc.
  • Initiate the development of sensory organs through various activities in the kitchen.
  • Without actually seeing it, child should be asked to identify the food items by
    • Smelling
    • Tasting
    • Touching
  • Child should be asked to differentiate between
    • Vegetables
    • Food items
    • Cereals
  • Child should be asked to find out difference between
    • Menthi & Mangraila/Til (Seasmum)
    • Jeera & Dhania
    • Arhar Dal & Chana Dal (Gram pulse)
    • Rai & Mustard
  • Learners should learn the art of classification by classifying vegetables, fruits, cereals, eatables etc.
    ? Colours
    ? Sizes
    ? Taste
    • Sweetness
    • Bitterness
    ? State of matter
    • Solid
    • Liquid
    • Gas
    ? Temperature
    • Hot
    •  Cold
    ? Nature of different items
    • Elements
    • Compounds
    • Mixtures
    ? Eatables
    • Cereals
    • Vegetables
    • Fruits
    • Spices 
  • Learner can learn the “Principle of Cause & Effect” by observing the effect of
    • Heating
    • Mixing water with various solid items i.e. sugar, salt, flour
  • Learner can be initiated into the principles of scientific reasoning by asking them to explain various processes.
    • Why does bread soil on heating?
    • Why does rice soften on boiling?
    • Why is a lid put on the pressure cooker?
    • Why cooked food rots but raw cereals do not?

 

Let’s remember that

Kitchen is the best laboratory

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