Vocabulary is expanded, as the children hear a lot of new words, such as wooden spoon, rolling pin, cinnamon, ginger, gingerbread man, apron, hat, cookie dough, batter, muffins, cupcakes, pumpkin muffins, apple muffins etcetera. The list is endless. Through this their general knowledge is expanded as they learn that cinnamon comes from a tree, a blossom is a flower that will grow to become a fruit, plants need water and sun to grow, tomatoes come in all colours such as red, orange, yellow and green.
Making a gingerbread man teaches a child about body image: you have two arms, two legs, two eyes and a mouth, your head is attached to your body by your neck etcetera. Later in the learning process, body-image goes hand in hand with spatial orientation (the position of the body in relation to everything around it)
When we do our pumpkin spice muffins, the children see that there are various types of pumpkins, such as the big green “iron pumpkin”, the funny-shaped orange butternut, dark green gem squash, and various other types. We show them that the gem squash is small, but the iron pumpkin is big.
We touch on mathematics when we cut an orange into half, and the children learn that those are not two oranges, but both are parts of one orange (fractions).
The beautiful thing about this is that they will associate the smell of orange zest with fractions in their future life, and nothing is “taught “to them, but accidental learning takes place.
One of the best ways for parents to bond with their children, is through baking, as it is such a fun and relaxing activity. Low and behold, you can even start with little baby steps to teach them to wipe the kitchen counter afterwards or put away their utensils after they used it……As such, baking also teaches responsibility and boosts their self- image, as every time they achieve something, we praise them. Parents should try and ignore the mess that might be made in the process of baking- as the learning here is more important than not messing. Encourage them later to help a little with clean-up (this can become a game by singing a clean-up song). Remember that those hands are small and everything we as adults take for granted, still must be practised by your child. It does not matter if the eyes they have put on the ginger man is not exactly in the right place, the fact that they made something themselves, gives them lots of self-confidence and pride.
(Article written in conjunction with Mrs G Engelbrecht-Mrs Engelbrecht is a teacher with 40 years’ experience teaching Grade 1, as well as nursery school (ages 3-5)
She is a qualified Remedial teacher, and regularly tests children for school-readiness and does remedial work with children for minor learning difficulties
Mrs Engelbrecht has the following qualifications:
B ED (UNISA)
Remedial Diploma (UNISA)
Educating the mentally Impaired Child ( Qualification: UNISA)
Diploma in Primary Education : Graaff-Reinet Educational College