Avondale Primary is an enthusiastic participant in the nationwide Garden to Table programme. And thanks to the help of the Your West Support Fund, tamariki are cooking up a storm in the kitchen with brand-new appliances.
The school first opened its doors in 1870, making it one of the oldest schools in West Auckland. Currently, there are 330 young people on the roll in years 1-6.
In 2019, the arrival of the new principal, James Williams, was a golden opportunity to improve the learning experience for tamariki. Following a consultation exercise with the whole school community, Avondale Primary embarked on a major programme of upgrades to the school environment.
Office Manager Yvonne Cullum explains more: ‘With the support of the Ministry of Education’s special improvements budget, we undertook a major project of landscaping otherwise barren courts into a landscaped area with a fale and gardens.’ Yvonne adds that the school also created vegetable plots for each classroom as part of the Garden to Table initiative.
Garden to Table gives children opportunities to grow, harvest, prepare and cook yummy kai. The programme encourages tamariki to care for the environment and develop lifelong healthy eating habits. It also has knock-on benefits in teaching practical cooking skills, while following recipes brings maths and literacy learning to life.
Yvonne says that Avondale Primary also revamped a disused classroom space into a whānau meeting area with a newly fitted-out kitchen. ‘We needed somewhere for tamariki to prepare and cook their harvested vegetables and share delicious food with classmates,’ says Yvonne.
However, the Ministry of Education’s funding only went so far, and the school needed more finances to buy new kitchen appliances. An application to the 2022 Your West Support Fund changed that, and the $5,000 was used to purchase and fit two new ovens and range hoods.
Avondale Primary’s students can now get creative in the kitchen using vegetables they have nurtured in the school’s gardens.
Yvonne says the delicious smells coming from the kitchen on Garden to Table days are something else. ‘From soups and pizzas to quiches and sandwiches, the kids have made a whole range of tasty dishes,’ she declares.
Even better, the new kitchen is also used for the school's breakfast club, meaning that even more students benefit from the upgraded facilities.
Avondale Primary School is located at Crayford Street West. Check out the website for more information.