Mrs. Meyers’ class has all the right ingredients for success

on May 5, 2017

When you mix together these key ingredients: reading, oral skills, socialization, life skills, safety, exposure to new foods, occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy, what have you got? Weekly cooking in Mrs. Meyer’s class at Central Valley Elementary!

Mrs. Meyers’ is the first to tell you that these cooking lessons are about so much more than just making food.

“During the cooking lessons the students are busy learning many academic and life skills in their natural context. My goals tap into everything we work on which encompasses math skills, language skills, reading skills, turn taking, sequencing, following directions, kitchen safety, hygiene, manners, independence, group/team work, fine motor skills, learning to sit and wait, trying new foods, and addressing their sensory needs through taste, touch, smell and hearing. The results have been amazing! They have become tiny chefs who have become more comfortable and confident in all aspects of the cooking process, from prepping, all the way to eating the final product,” said Meyers.

Meyers began her cooking sessions with her third and fourth grade students last year. She begins each lesson with a review of their kitchen rules and then students wash their hands and get busy.

As the students work confidently in the classroom kitchen setting, they have learned to follow procedures:

  • Read recipe and carefully follow the outlined steps
  • Get ingredients, which are on the counter or in the refrigerator
  • Gather necessary supplies
  • Be safe
  • Combine ingredients

“It’s amazing to see the progress they’ve made in the kitchen. Some students who didn’t eat much of anything have widened their palettes. Even if they just taste something, or smell or touch it, we consider that progress!” added Meyers.

The concept for food preparation and cooking began several years ago in Monroe-Woodbury High School, under the leadership of special education teacher Valerie Robinson. Today’s Cozy Cafe program is hugely successful and helped middle school teacher Randi Connelly get her cooking program off the ground at the middle school. In turn, both teachers supported Central Valley special education teacher Soraya Meyers when she recognized that cooking would provide her students wonderful opportunities to not only strengthen their life skills, but also give them opportunities to socialize, read and more!

“We are all connected and supporting each other,” said Meyers. “One of my goals is that my students will be exposed to cooking before they head to the middle school and eventually the high school.”


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