September 30, 2011
After working in after-school programs myself as a bilingual Spanish teacher and feeling dismayed by curriculum limitations, I was seriously impressed by the versatility and dynamic structure of RFS classes. In RFS classes, learning to cook a simple recipe becomes so much more than that by engaging and challenging students to work well in groups, think critically about math and science (fractions, ratios, mixtures, etc), and to explore nutrition in a fun and meaningful way. One of my favorite volunteer moments happened one afternoon while I was cleaning up dishes after class. Our last student of the day had returned to class with his mother because he had forgotten to pick up a copy of the day's recipe. Typically a quieter student, he suddenly burst to life recounting the day's lesson to his mother including details of the ingredients, what purposes they served, and how to replicate the meal with other similar ingredients. Seeing my astonishment, the mother proceeded to tell me that her son, as a result of RFS, had taken to helping her in the kitchen both with meal planning and actually cooking their meals. What once was a simple class time activity was becoming a passion for this child as well as a bonding experience for him and his mother.
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