Cooking with Pumpkins and more

by: Raffi Darrow, Ebytes Editor
Fine motor skills involve the small muscles of the body that enable functions such as writing, grasping small objects, and fastening clothing. When hammering golf tees into pumpkins, for example, students in The Experiential School of Tampa Bay were not only strengthening their fine motor skills but were also practicing hand-eye coordination.

Throughout the month of October, Mrs. Hahn’s JK class has been reading many different books about pumpkins. Some books were silly and made students laugh, others prompted questions and discussions about the life cycle of a pumpkin, and while reading "Pumpkin Hill," the children noticed that there was a recipe for baked pumpkin seeds in the back.

This surprise became the start of the JK cooking study. The class discussed what a recipe is and looked at all the ingredients needed to bake their own seeds. The following day they read "How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin," and then cut, counted, washed and coated their seeds in oil. After all that hard work it was time to place the seeds in an oven and wait patiently. Finally they got to taste the results of their hard work. Yum!

But of course the learning did not stop there... Students then planted and observed pumpkin seeds germinating and herbs growing! They drew what they observed, and the photographic evidence is adorable.

Mrs. Craver’s and Mrs. Markunas’ JK classes baked pumpkin muffins for their Friday snack. Following a recipe is very complex for young children. Some of the skills that were practiced were listening to and following directions, counting and measuring, fine motor skills, collaboration and cooperation. The students worked in small groups to create bowls of wet and dry ingredients. Next, they combined the two bowls together. They practiced counting to 10 while each child had a turn stirring.

Mrs. Daley’s Alpha class introduced cooking by welcoming a guest expert. John Pia, a Shorecrest grandparent, was in town from Pennsylvania - the mushroom capital of the world! He is a mushroom farmer for South Mills. Mr. Pia brought shiitake mushroom logs and showed the students how they grow and what’s inside them. Thank you so much for visiting with the young Chargers! The next day students cooked their own mushroom pasta alfredo as one of their centers.

Cooking is an important part of our program and something that children can capably do together.

Mrs. Witherington was a guest expert in Alpha who decorated pumpkins with the children. They loved painting and sticking on the different faces. In Mrs. Carson’s class students painted and hammered pumpkins as well. They also used their crafty skills to punch holes on leaves and lace them onto colorful yarn for a fall garland.

View our fall activity photos here.

View our mushroom cooking photos here.


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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.