Two grade 4/5 classes from Queen Mary Elementary headed over to Tapestry at Westbrook Village once a week for the month of November, as a part of a Project Chef pilot program.
The 9 and 10-year-old students cooked with residents at the seniors centre and also spent time getting to know more about different cultural food habits. They also interviewed Tapestry residents about food -exploring changes in diet, food memories and social customs. Students and seniors then had the opportunity to dine together, and share in their experiences.
The idea for the partnership came when one of the senior residents at Tapestry, an 89-year-old ex-VSB Churchill home economics teacher, volunteered with Project CHEF in a school. She approached Finlay and was adamant that she visit the beautiful demonstration kitchen at Tapestry. Finlay says the program unfolded from there.
"My thinking was that we have often skipped a generation with our understanding of food, cooking and its importance socially and emotionally in a family. The seniors have much to offer the children and I wanted to bring the two groups together," says Barb Finlay, Project Chef Executive Director, Founder and teacher.
Queen Mary students spent their mornings at Tapestry not only cooking, but also getting to know a little but about their "Tapestry Buddies". Each week students took turns either cooking or interviewing residents.
Many students were surprized to learn that some seniors didn't have refrigerators when they were children, and that items like milk and eggs were often delivered right to the house-fresh from the farm.
"The day was fantastic!" says Finlay. "The kids, parents and seniors cooked and shared food and it was a joyous thing to watch. Intergenerational learning is so powerful."
Created in 2008, Project CHEF is a non-profit program that partners with Vancouver School Board to teach children about wholesome food. At the conclusion of the 2013 - 2014 school year, the program has reached approximately 8400 children from Vancouver schools and directly involved over 4800 parent and community volunteers.
To view more photos from the day CLICK HERE
To read an article that CBC wrote on Queen Mary students in Project Chef ant their Tapestry buddies CLICK HERE
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