Edible Schoolyard Kitchen Culture
Classroom Culture
Rituals and Routines
Place of Learning: 

ESY Berkeley Teaching Staff
Edible Schoolyard Project
Berkeley, CA

The rituals and routines that students and teachers follow create a kitchen classroom culture that fosters positive contributions and community.
Student Rituals and Routines

In the kitchen, we have established a set of rituals and routines for the students so they know what to do during each phase of the lesson. Students:

  • Line up outside the kitchen classroom and wait to be greeted by a kitchen teacher
  • Enter the kitchen, put their backpacks away in the cubbies, put on an apron and meet at the middle table for the Chef Meeting
  • Wash their hands after the Chef Meeting and go to their table groups
  • Work in the same table groups for their entire kitchen rotation
  • Choose their kitchen jobs each kitchen class
  • Serve everybody at the table before eating
  • Bus their dishes and clean the kitchen after every kitchen class
Kitchen Teacher Rituals and Routines

As a kitchen staff, we have established a set of rituals and routines so that students know what to expect. Teachers:

  • Greet the class outside and wait for the students to be lined up, focused, and ready to enter the kitchen
  • Share leadership of the Chef Meetings and closing circles
  • Ask check-in questions at the table groups that set a tone and allow the kitchen teachers to get to know the students
  • Take notes on each class to track group continuity, fairness, and behavioral issues
  • Debrief with the classroom teacher after class
  • Discuss ongoing issues with the school counselors
Student Buy-In

With these practices, we aim to instill a sense of ownership and love for the kitchen in each student. Students:

  • Eat what they make
  • Use real tools
  • Cook in the kitchen what they have grown in the garden
  • Harvest from the garden during kitchen class
  • Take copies of the recipes home
  • Take leftovers in to-go containers
Encouraging Success

In the kitchen, we empower students to make decisions and encourage them to be their best selves. Kitchen teachers:

  • Ask for student input whenever possible
  • Engage all of the senses
  • Know the classroom teachers’ management styles in advance
  • Create a culture of “yes!”
  • Use “random” decision-making processes (rock/paper/scissors; pick a number)
  • Create kitchen jobs that will bring out the best in particular students or groups, and figure out appropriate work for particular students’ needs
  • Are flexible, and assign new kitchen jobs when necessary
  • Redirect unproductive behavior
  • Praise, praise, praise!
  • Reward students with more responsibility
  • Make positive phone calls home
  • ‘Word of the Week’ board unifies student experience throughout the school