Ararat West students in cooking program

ARARAT - Ararat West Primary School students have learned some valuable life skills through a cooking program run at the school.

Principal, Chris Walter said the program was made possible through a Partner Brokerage Grant received from the Central Grampians School Focus Youth Service.

"We applied in partnership with East Grampians Health Service, because we wanted to get a dietician in to talk to the kids," he said.

"We ran the program in three parts, each one involved teaching the students about food and the values of different foods."

Mr Walter said the first part of the program, for younger students, taught participants basic life skills.

"They learnt how to make simple foods, such as pancakes and scrambled eggs through to fried rice and mini pizzas, in case they're in a situation where they need to prepare something for themselves," he said.

A group of 20 students participated in cake decorating classes.

These advanced classes catered to those who aspired to make a career out of cake decorating or food handling.

The third part of the program taught students the value of a meal.

Mr Walter said the children were split up into small groups of two or three and asked to plan a three course meal.

The students sent out invitations to 'significant adults', including parents, grandparents and teachers.

Mr Walter said the students were responsible for all aspects of the meal, from planning to cooking and setting the table.

The students sat down with their guests to enjoy a family orientated meal, with discussion taking place over the dinner table.

"The kids got an enormous amount out of it," Mr Walter said.

Ararat West received a grant for $2,500, which went towards cooking equipment and ingredients.

Mr Walter thanked the staff and volunteers who participated in the program.

"The money doesn't go towards staffing, so we're very grateful to those who gave up their time. We had a cake decorator volunteer to help out and we also had a grandmother assist with the basic cooking skills," he said.

Mr Walter said the project was a major success and that he would love to see it run at the school again in the future.

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