Outdoor kitchen teaching kids about food

20th June 2022

An outdoor learning kitchen has opened in Southend, as a teacher aims to create a community space for children to learn about the journey from the farm to the table.

Thanks to a grant from the Douglas Allen Foundation, the team at Raw Learning Community has opened their outdoor kitchen and eating space on an allotment in Eastern Avenue, helping to improve children’s learning by letting them get close to nature.

They hold sessions every Tuesday for children with learning differences or mental health struggles to develop their understanding of the natural environment.

Tilly Hogrebe, one of the volunteers who takes the Raw Kitchen sessions, said: “We are looking at the entire food chain, from seed to plate.

“Last week we planted seed potatoes and used fresh potatoes to make our own crisps, then later in the season we will re-visit this session when we harvest our own home-grown potatoes and use them in our kitchen here.

“This way, the children are not only learning about growing, cooking and self-sufficiency, they also explore the relation between some of the products we know.”

Raw Learning Community was set up by Rachel King, who was a primary school teacher for 21 years. After injuring herself in a freak netball accident, she decided to study for a masters degree that would enable her to focus on teaching and supporting children who live with things like autism and dsylexia.

She has since opened a forest school based in Rochford for young people with learning differences and social or emotional health needs.

Fiona D’Silva, deputy manager of Raw Learning, said: “Raw Learning gives opportunities to children with a learning difference. Our activities and environment encourage exploration, flexibility, creativity, innovation and the chance for the children or young people to engage in self-directed learning.

“Our highly skilled teachers are on hand to support, listen and build trust to help our learners.”

To find out more and to book a session, visit: www.rawlearning.co.uk