Building on a decade of experience across food media and pedagogy, food educator, television host, and best-selling children’s book author Alice Zaslavsky, reckons she’s found it. Zaslavsky plans to enlist the help of fellow Australian teachers to get the message out there, by arming them with a fully curriculum-aligned food education resource and digital series that can be integrated into their existing lessons across English, STEM, the arts and the humanities.
Set in a classroom of ‘the very near future’, Alice is joined by a class of Super Natural Learners. “The best thing that we did was cast curious, sparky kids,” Alice explains. “Then let them be themselves and learn and follow them around with cameras. Even if they started at a point where they hated all vegetables (and honestly, some did) by the end, they were tasting ingredients and smelling and touching - a significant step forward. That was so heartwarming for me, because the whole point is to affect as many kids as possible. We've already done that with at least seven.”
So how does Phenomenom differ? Well, it zooms light-years away from the typical worthy health message and focuses on the fact that vegetables are, objectively, pretty darn amazing. Every sprout has a story that binds soil and seeds. The key is in creating situations for kids to discover the wonder for themselves, whether that be doing pushups with an olympian, or exploring space with a real astronaut, or learning to garnish with a MasterChef Judge.
This sort of experiential, student-led learning is carried over into free integrated teaching resources for grades 3-6, aligned to specific Learning Outcomes on the Australian Curriculum. Hands-on, entertaining lessons and activities will encourage further inquiry and deeper retention of information through a multi-sensory approach.