Learning at Elements: Navigating Risk

At the end of last month, we had a family bonfire on a lovely Friday evening. The children roasted marshmallows to make s’mores. Everyone gathered around to chat, and it was just a really wonderful time.

Now, I know that encouraging young kids to toast s’mores may seem risky but the truth is that by allowing them to do so, we exposed them to fire and we taught them how to access and manage risk in a safe environment. Vigilant adults were all around them, watching them closely but they will still given an opportunity to have their experience at the bonfire, helping them manage their own reactions and trust their instincts.

It is the same principle we follow when we have the students chop vegetables or grate cheese as we make lunch. Of course the kitchen utensils are child-safe, and, again, there are watchful adults on hand. But the students are encouraged to take small risks – such as holding a knife, and slicing a carrot carefully.

Studies have proven that children recognise a new task will present something unknown to them. If they are supported in the exploration of that task, it gives them a chance to set their own limits and boundaries. As they grow older, this allows them to view challenges and problems with less anxiety, and be more confident in their abilities to deal with both success and failure.


Cooking with Kids: Cauliflower Soup

A bowl of warm soup is comforting and healthy. We made a batch for lunch this past week, and you might like to try this at home over the weekend. Remember that the steps in italics are for adults only.

You will need:
1 head of cauliflower
2-3 cups vegetable broth
1 yellow onion
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Olive oil

To make the soup:

Clean and chop all the vegetables and herbs.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and a pinch of salt.

Cook garlic and onion, stirring occasionally until soft and beginning to brown.

Add cauliflower and rosemary

Turn the heat up just a little bit and cook the veggies for another 3-5 minutes. Add just enough vegetable broth to cover the cauliflower. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat so the broth is simmering.

After about 5 minutes, remove the soup from the heat. You can also choose to blend the soup until it’s creamy and smooth in consistency.

Taste for seasoning

Try This At Home: A Space Garden

In class this week we began making our own Hydroponic Water Garden, in keeping with our Space theme this month. We worked on an adaptation of the idea here, and hope you’ll be inspired to try it at home!

You need:
1 empty 2-liter bottle
Cotton balls
Heavy cotton string
Green bean seeds

How to make it:
In advance, cut the top of the bottle off where the bottle begins to curve.
Have the children write their name on their bottle.
Have the children invert the bottle top and place it into the bottle. Tape in place.
Pour water into the bottom of the bottle, until it is quarter full.
Cut a length of the string and place it in the bottle top so that it goes through the hole and into the bottom of the bottle.
Pull apart some cotton balls so they’re a bit fluffy and place them in the bottle top.
Plant a few bean seeds in the cotton.

What will happen:
The string will absorb the water and drip it slowly on the cotton balls. This will moisten the seeds so they can grow.

After the seeds sprout, keep the garden in a sunny window.  Add more water to the bottom of the bottle as needed. We’re waiting to see our gardens bloom!

Cooking with Kids: Two-Cheese Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? We cannot think of a single person! We made a delicious pizza for lunch at Elements recently, and thought you might like to try this at home this weekend. The kids loved helping out, as always. Please remember that the steps in italics are for adults only.

Bon appetit!

You will need:
Pizza dough
Fresh spinach
Cherry tomatoes
Shredded parmesan
Shredded mozzarella
Olive oil
Italian seasoning

To make the pizza:
Preheat oven at 350° F
Wash and slice tomatoes.
Wash spinach.
Drizzle olive oil and dust a little flour on a baking sheet.
Roll pizza dough place on prepared baking sheet.
Top with tomatoes, spinach, mozzarella, parmesan, salt to taste and sprinkle a teaspoon of Italian seasoning.
Drizzle olive oil on top.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.





Our spooktacular Halloween

We thought you might enjoy a peek at our Halloween celebrations. The children came in costumes that day and spent time doing fun craft activities – making mummies, and ghosts and painting pumpkins. We had organised a pumpkin hunt the day before, so each student had one to paint.

Then, we went trick or treating and ended the day with a really fun spooktacular dance party.

How was your Halloween? Head on over to our Facebook page and tell us, please