Melodies International Kindergarten was established in 1981.The school’s key goal is to encourage the growth of internationality, sociality and abilities; to cultivate a harmonious mind and body with its educational philosophy of nurturing intelligent and strong children.
Melodies offers children between the ages of 2 to 6 years, an international and Japanese education program. Children from both programs will learn numbers, music, letters, exercise and arts through enjoyable and exciting experiences. They are motivated to be confident, to be innovative and, through play and hands-on experience, gain confidence and flexibility as a part of Melodies’ curriculum.
At Melodies International Kindergarten, cooking is introduced to children as early as two years old because they believe that children learn best through direct experience. Their goal at the cooking studio is to make children feel that cooking is fun and enjoyable. They create an environment in which children feel safe and can explore anything about food and also use different tools to make cooking enjoyable and challenging. For example, cookie cutters were used to create food with different shapes. They also ask children to wear gloves and use a vegetable cutting machine to cut an onion. Vegetables are also pre-cooked to make them easy to cut for the children.
Children from all age groups can enjoy cooking at the studio because the menu and cooking procedures are designed to be age-appropriate. Nutritionists, teachers and parents helped fashion the 50 specially designed menu and cooking procedures. A-two-year-old would start from stirring a miso soup and peeling a lettuce leaf by hands. A three-year-old begins to use a plastic knife to cut boiled carrots. At the age of 5, children are then able to stir fry, roll sushi, and make a parfait.
What the children learn from the cooking studio is immeasurable, as cooking itself involves direct experiences of five senses; touch, smell, observe, listen, and taste, children can naturally learn many vocabularies and scientific processes. “tofu” is the most interesting topic. The children start to develop a wider perspective regarding foods that they usually dislike such as tofu, soy bean, soy sauce and soy milk after they engaged in a cooking session of preparing tofu gyoza. The school was delighted to learn from parents that their children in general have developed an interest in food. Children at Melodies are able to name various ingredients, ask more about dinner served at home and have even started trying new meals and ingredients that they didn’t like before.
The cooking studio at Melodies is perfectly safe for its young learner as there has been a “zero accident policy” implemented by the school. The kitchen tables, stoves or even sinks were ordered based on the height of the children. The cooking teachers and assistants carefully demonstrate how to use each cooking appliance in the studio at the beginning of each class. All teachers and other assisting staff undergo a cooking seminar that is two days long. These seminars teach them how to interact positively with children, how to prevent accidents and allergy mishaps; and all other cooking procedures.
This cooking class also encourages children to learn about food by touching the ingredients and cooking and also learn other things like;
• The importance of safety and hygiene in the kitchen
• Using familiar ingredients to cook
• Learn culture through food
• Notice the ingredients change appearance, flavour and smell during the cooking process
These cooking activities for the children are also assisted by special volunteers and mother volunteers. Learning new things by sharing enjoyable meals with friends and classmates leads to the development of each child’s social skills and values such as sharing.
Melodies International Kindergarten boasts an award for excellence granted by the NPO Kid square place 21 in Japan last year (2019). In the Japan food education platform, Thai local vegetables were used to prepare a Japanese snack which helped raise awareness of a fusion food culture. They want to continue to give children a safe, enjoyable and meaningful cooking experience.