Cooking Classes Celebrate Family, Food and Sharing

March 7, 2023


As part of the Affordability Grant the school district received this year, a portion of those funds were allocated for special programs to support Indigenous Education.  In August, the district met with the Indigenous Education Council to ask for advise on how to best use these funds.  We are grateful to Chief Alice McKay from Mathxwí First Nation who attended this special meeting to provide guidance as we developed programs.  As a result, we developed an idea of offering cooking classes for children and families, to learn a new way of cooking with an Instapot, to gather as families and cook together.  The results were more than we could have hoped for.  First, we held a Train the Trainer class.  Chris Kelly, ISW Mentor, shared her skills with 7 other ISWs who then offered cooking classes in their school communities as well.   Here are some highlights.

At WJ Mouat, the class was offered by Sameera Daraska, ISW. “The impact the Instapot cooking class had on the students who participated is a sense of accomplishment and pride. After we completed our classes and I sent the students home with their Instapots and grocery cards, the students came back to me to show me the recipes they had tried on their own with their newfound skill set, they even had a dinner party where they invited their friends to eat the delicious food they had made from scratch. The students who had participated are also sharing their cooking skills and recipes with their peers. I think this was a wonderful program which gave the participants a sense of pride and the self-confidence to try new things.”

At Semá:th Elementary School the Instapot Class was led by Indigenous Support Worker, Elder Tina Lakey. There is something special about “breaking bread” together and having a shared experience and this experience has reinforced these notions. The cooking lessons, along with cultural teachings that students experienced are key components to this program’s success.  Mr. Galen Soon, principal shares, “I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in this experience alongside students. Paddles up to our Indigenous Education Department for their vision of this experience and to our Indigenous Support Worker for her leadership in leading learning for this program.”

A third location that enjoyed the Instapot Classes was Mathxwí Elementary. Supported by Mrs. Jennifer Bennato, Principal, Nadine Kitchekeesik, ISW, led these classes and they enjoyed gathering with students and families.  “Our kids have loved bringing their parents, aunties, uncles, brothers, sisters, and great grandparents to their school in the evening to visit, laugh, gather and prepare and enjoy a delicious meal together. Taking their families on a weekly tour of their classroom and sharing their schoolwork is always a highlight too!  When the Indigenous Department offered this opportunity, we were quick to respond. We value our indigenous families as our partners.”