DANVILLE – The popularity of the weeklong culinary camps for Danville District 118 children during the summer has inspired the district to share the love of cooking with its students’ parents.
The district’s educational support office has planned two nutrition and cooking classes this month, with more sessions being offered at various locations through December.
The first “Cooking Togetherness” program is set for 1-2 p.m. Tuesday, at the Fair Oaks Community Room. Registration begins at 12:45 p.m. A second class is planned for 12:30-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Green Meadows Community Room.
Those who wish to participate should make reservations by calling the District 118 educational support office at 444-1092.
Brenda Yoho, director of educational support, said the nutrition and cooking classes are an extension of the district’s Parent University outreach program. The district’s Birth to 3 and home interventionist programs, as well as the University of Illinois Extension Office and the Danville Public Library Outreach program, will be on hand during the classes.
Jenny Spinks, program coordinator with the extension office in Champaign, will teach Tuesday’s session.
“We work on promoting healthy environments,” she said. “The kids hear about nutrition in school, but maybe their environment after school isn’t as healthy as it could be.”
Spinks said she plans to talk to parents about nutrition and how to read a nutrition fact label, but she won’t be lecturing.
“It’s going to be more informal and relaxed. I try to engage them,” she said. “We’ll talk about ‘what do you do?’ and I’ll tell them ‘this is what I do.’”
The parents also will cook with Spinks.
“We’re going to make a healthier recipe for sloppy joes and a yogurt parfait,” she said. “It’s something they can make at home that’s economical.”
Yoho said she is excited about offering the nutrition and cooking sessions to district parents.
“We’re constantly talking about what the needs in the district are, and doing collaborations with the community is helping us fine tune what those needs are,” Yoho said.
“What we’ve found is our culinary camp is popular with our kids, so we decided to extend it to the parents,” she added.
Yoho said the nutrition and cooking classes fit with the district’s focus on health and wellness.
“We’ve changed our focus and our (school) menus,” she said. “We are being more conscientious with health and wellness.”
Yoho said cooking also teaches lessons in reading and math, such as reading recipes and measuring ingredients.
“With these classes, they’ll receive hands-on instruction, and we’ll give them the tools to do it and to take with them so they can apply it at home,” she said.
Every class participant will receive a free gift. In addition, there will be free giveaways.
Future classes are planned for Oct. 24 at the Danville Public Library, Nov. 14 at the Fair Oaks Community Room, Nov. 28 at Green Meadows and Dec. 12 at the public library.
Danville District 118 parents who wish to participate in the “Cooking Togetherness” program set for 1-2 p.m. Tuesday, at the Fair Oaks Community Room, should call the district's educational support office at 444-1092.