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Methilhill Community Children’s Initiative

16 October 2014
Children cooking

Methilhill Community Children’s Initiative (MCCI) is a community group focused on providing children with fun, stimulating  activities which  help develop their skills and talents, as well as being a  hub for local families to come for help and advice.

The group was created in 2012, after the parents of the Methilhill became frustrated with the lack of facilities for young people. 

MCCI has enjoyed great success in the Methilhill community.  The group runs the Outdoor Youth Club which engages children in outdoor learning; and the Learning Garden, also known as Charlie’s Plot Club which teaches the community to plant and grow their own produce.

Thanks to a grant from Foundation Scotland, via the Shell UK Community Awards, the group established the Wee Kids Club Cooking Project, a 12 week cookery project. The grant helped pay for hall hire, ingredients and utensils.

The cookery project is for children between the ages of 5-9, to encourage them to think about healthy eating, Scottish produce and where food comes from.  While learning about the essentials of cooking and experiencing new cuisine, the children also have the opportunity to develop their literacy and numeracy skills.

Shirley Faichney, one of the founders of the MCCI, said: “Kids love to cook! When I was growing up, cooking with parents or grandparents, was common place but it’s now a bit of a dying tradition  People can’t afford to focus on healthy eating and many working families don’t have the time to cook so  rely on ready meals and takeaways.   We want to teach children about food awareness; what ingredients are they using, where does it come from and what does it taste like?” 

Shirley considers this informal learning style to be incredibly beneficial. She said: “We want to build their confidence and resilience and help them understand that when they make mistakes it's okay; they don’t have to be perfect.”

The project has proved extremely successful. Cooking has become part of the club and has had a positive impact on behavior too. Children with challenging behavior are focused on their activities and they are proud of their achievements. Parents and family members also have the opportunity to come along and see the children working together. Children are even taking recipes sheets home and encouraging parents to get involved and cook with them!

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