Cooking is for Everyone
Nobody wants to feel left out. Nobody wants to feel like they cannot participate. We are making the kitchen accessible to all. Cook N Grow is making the kitchen a place of rehabilitation and learning; pioneering a program that will help those with any number of learning disabilities or in therapy to have access to a unique, fun, and flavorful learning experience.
Through our research we have found that one of the best things for children with accessibility concerns is making sure they are eating the right types of foods. That is why our classes and cooking with kids as therapy is a complimentary relationship. We will help kids love a plethora of foods and flavors. We will expose them to experiences that will awaken the senses and spark curiosity and they will be a part of the group. In addition to the child getting to interact with their peers and be a part of something special and unique, they will bring their knowledge home.
Since our classes allow our “Cookies” (students) to use all of their senses, they are in a unique brand of therapy. Our classroom kitchens will benefit anyone that is currently seeing an occupational therapist or has a sensory disability.
They will be able to help in the kitchen and provide an environment for caretakers and parents to grow closer. They will have improved communication skills and improved cognitive functions. They will be able to practice reading, speaking, and work on their fine motor skills as well. Their time cooking with us will be therapy with a unique twist. As the child grows and matures, they will also be learning the skills necessary to take care of themselves. They will be able to rely on others less and be more self-sufficient. They will be able to take the improved skills with them as they enter the world and seek employment as well.
The goal of the program ultimately is to help those with disabilities or in therapy thrive in a world that does not always see and understand the challenges that are all around. Inspired by my own child, who has a speech delay, I was able to understand that through the use of simple and nutritious recipes and images, I can help my students focus, stay on task and be actively engaged in the food prepping process. Through our use of visuals for every step and utilizing flavorful, but simple recipes we will achieve these basic goals as well as promote improved self-esteem and self-reliance.
What will a typical class look like? It will start with our student showing up with their caregiver and siblings if desired. We will keep the classes as short as possible to help with attention issues. The caregiver must remain present for the entire class and we encourage siblings, so that everyone can learn how to take these lessons home and apply them there. We want an environment that feels less like therapy and more like fun, so the more people we can have involved, the better. It removes the stigma that is often present in believing that someone cannot do something and proves that they can. We want to continue to make meal time, family time for everyone!