Growing Chefs! Ontario: Growing Chefs! Ontario in the Classroom

Growing Chefs! Ontario in the Classroom

We are thrilled to be relaunching our in-school programming! Our staff of chefs and educators will come right to your school, bringing with them all equipment, ingredients and supplies necessary to deliver fun, hands-on, experiential food education lessons.

Posted on: Jun 24, 2022

What to Expect: After a two-year hiatus, we are thrilled to be relaunching our in-school programming with Growing Chefs! in the Classroom. Our staff of chefs and educators will come right to your school, bringing with them all equipment, ingredients and supplies necessary to deliver fun, hands-on, experiential food education lessons, that are curriculum linked and age-appropriate. Students will have fun learning about food, all while applying science, math, art, history, health, geography, social studies concepts to real-world scenarios. This program is for the entire school, every single class!

Who can apply:
Applications initially opened only to those that had canceled in-school programming with us in the 2019 – 2020 school year, due to COVID-19 or strikes. Now that those schools have had an opportunity to apply, we have opened applications to our waitlist. Next we will open applications to those not on our waitlist, but please do not register yet, if you are not on our waitlist. We plan to open additional spots next school year so that more students can participate. Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee you are registered. Confirmation of registration will take place after a review process, and short-listed schools will receive a site visit/​meeting before final confirmation.

Date & Time: Programming will take place during the 2022 – 2023 school year. Exact dates and times will be booked once the school year begins.

We are offering this program to entire elementary schools, from FDK to Grade 8, every class participates, including special needs classes.

Thanks to the consistent and generous support of our title sponsor, Western Fair Association, and others, Growing Chefs! is able to offer the program at no fee to participating schools. Although this is not a requirement of the program, we encourage schools that are able to consider contributing a suggested amount of $5/​child, through sponsorship or fundraising (events, grants, campaigns etc). Growing Chefs! Ontario is a registered charity and can issue tax receipts for donations of $20 or more. All contributions from schools assist us to ensure that food education remains affordable and accessible to all students, families and schools that need it.

School Champion:
Each participating school requires a School Champion. The School Champion will be the lead contact and coordinator for all program activities and the primary means of communication between Growing Chefs! and school staff. The School Champion can be a principal, vice-principal, teacher, or other school staff. We will work with them to ensure the program is delivered efficiently and effectively, with little disruption to regular school activities.

School Champion Responsibilities:

  • Scheduling 2 full-school visits with the Growing Chefs! team. Visits will be approximately one to two weeks in length depending on school size. Dates will be proposed by Growing Chefs! and the School Champion will need to confirm with school administration.
  • Distributing School Project lesson plans and other resources to all teachers. Ensuring all teachers are aware of the program.
  • Creating a schedule for classroom lessons during your school’s visits. Every class should be included in this schedule. We will provide a template for this schedule.
  • Arranging storage space for Growing Chefs! equipment and an appropriate space for cleaning equipment and washing dishes.
  • Ensuring that all relevant accommodations needed, medical information, dietary restrictions and allergies that may be present in the school are passed on to our team.
  • Participating in the project evaluation process.

What is a suitable space for Growing Chefs! to operate?

Lessons typically happen in students’ classrooms. However, we do require a designated space for storage, preparation, and cleaning. We require exclusive access to a fridge, access to a dishwashing area (two-basin sink minimum, three-basin sink preferred), and at least two 6 foot long tables for storage/​preparation (with storage space below tables as well). Students must not have unsupervised access to the room, as there will be sharp knives and stoves in storage. This space is typically a staff room or a servery.

What space does Growing Chefs! require to deliver class lessons?

Typically, lessons are delivered in students’ classrooms, one class at a time. In some cases, students could also come to a designated location (library, gym, empty classroom, etc) for their lesson. Each lesson plan has specific instructions on our spatial requirements, such as the number of table groups needed, or if a smart board is needed.

Is photo permission required to participate in the School Project?

Allowing the Growing Chefs! team to take photos during class lessons is not a requirement, however photos are a fantastic way to build community and sponsor engagement with the School Project. Whenever possible, we hope that schools will share photo permission us. Please note that no student without granted photo permission will be excluded from any activities.

What is the evaluation process?

Evaluation is an important part of our program development. It is also useful for reporting to current funders and recruiting new ones. At the end of the program, School Champions will be sent an online survey to distribute to each teacher in their school. Each lesson plan will include curriculum-linked learning outcomes, which we expect teachers to review ahead of the lessons so that they can report on how their class did achieving them. Teachers should be encouraged to complete the survey with as much detail as possible .

Masking and Vaccination:
Growing Chefs! continues to work closely with Public Health as we begin to transition away from COVID-19 related health and safety protocols for our programming. We do not require staff to be masked.

Food Allergies:
If food allergies are a concern, rest assured that our team is highly experienced in managing dietary restrictions. Do not let a dietary concern prevent your students from participating in our programming. Get in contact with our staff team next school year with details and we’ll do our best to make appropriate accommodations.

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