To me, ASP stands for “Amazing Special Projects!” There are so many fun and educational food-related programs and projects happening at Park’s After-School Program these days.
LaToya Downing-Peltier, ASP teacher extraordinaire, brings her passion for molecular gastronomy to her five- and six-year-old clientele by routinely talking about the relationship between food and science. The kids loved their research on the phase changes of liquid. By making sorbet from frozen strawberries and then letting it melt in their mouths, they learned all about melting and freezing.
During an ASP Food Photography Club session this spring, LaToya spoke with her students about the five senses and how when it comes to food, most people believe taste is the primary sense at work. However, it actually takes a back seat to sight. LaToya explains, “The children were fascinated to hear about a very exciting experience I had at a restaurant in Paris named Dans Le Noir (In the Dark) and how eating in complete darkness made it very hard enjoy the meal, although it tasted delicious!” Students then applied this lesson to a hot chocolate food styling competition. They also received an introduction to lighting and food staging tricks before taking beautiful photographs of their finished products.
Finally, there’s no better way than a garden to help kids appreciate where their food comes from. ASP has invited Jean Devine from Meadowscaping for Biodiversity to do just this and much more through their Tuesday afternoon Junior Meadow Club. Through exploring flower beds, bird watching, testing soil, and observing how the landscape changes and grows have delivered many teachable moments.
Ask your children or the ASP faculty about the “million other” food-related activities taking place at the After-School Program. You’ll quickly notice the ASP’s knack for hiding learning opportunities inside of really fun projects, especially when it comes to bringing food and joy together.