A class of Victoria School pre-Kindergarten students paid a visit to the Prairie Grain Bakery and Deli in Kamsack last week when they got to see how bread and buns are baked, how bread is sliced, how sandwiches are made and at the end of the tour they all sampled cupcakes and cookies.
The students in Chantel Kitchen’s class made their way from the school to main street with several wagons pulled by teachers, aids and parents on October 28. At the bakery their tour was conducted by employees John Luu and Craig Sorgenson.
Explaining how the bakery trip came to be, Kitchen said that in the pre-Kindergarten, class “we set out what are called ‘invitations to learning’ to catch the kids’ attention.
“These invitations might work on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, academic knowledge, social skills and imaginative,” she said. “When a particular invitation catches the attention of students in a positive, meaningful way, we are encouraged to extend that interest in multiple ways in a ‘project approach.’”
For example, she said that a couple of weeks ago she had put out an invitation about the letter “C.” It included a large letter C with cookies to taste and to glue on to it. It is known that the more senses a kid can experience something with, the better he or she will remember it. So tasting the cookies in conjunction with feeling them (gluing them to the paper) and seeing the shape of the letter C decorated with cookies made for a rich learning experience.
It is also recommended that every invitation one sets out is connected to literacy, she said. “So with the cookies and the letter C, I had included a number of cookbooks. The children became interested in marking the pages of the cookbooks for the recipes that they thought looked good. The next day we made one of the recipes: no-bake cookies.
“The students helped measure, cook it on the stove and scoop out the cookies. We then ate them at snack time. They were very engaged in the process, so another day we made sugar cookies. They rolled the dough, used cookie cutters, baked them and then iced them. The students ate some of them at school, and also took some home to share with their families.
“With Halloween approaching in the middle of our project, we were also carving pumpkins. The students picked the seeds out of the insides and we roasted them for a snack another day.
“We continued to read books about baking, and some of the students engaged in a video tour of a family-operated bakery.
“With interest still high, I contacted John at Prairie Grain to see if we could visit for a quick tour and snack one day. The students walked from the school to the bakery, we toured the place and then John gave them cookies and cupcakes to sample for a snack.
The students really enjoyed the trip and came back still excited about the topic, Kitchen said. “I have now been in contact with KCI to see if we might be able to do something with a home economics class there to bake something in small groups with the older students.
“So, what had started as eating cookies to learn about the letter C, evolved into a few weeks worth of exploration and projects.”