Travel Bug Bites as Chinese Dragon Raids Care First’s Students Veg Plot

It’s a quiet, virtually silent lethargic Monday, which is a little unnerving as Mondays can be mayhem.

Skills Tank students are in the kitchen and we’re discussing different cultures and how they celebrate special events with food.  It’s a little hardgoing but gradually the students come out of weekend mode and start to join in.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Oliver says “Chinese Dragon”!

Faster than a light switch turning on a light, the students excitement is ignited and we’ve gone from food to making a Chinese dragon, how they’re going to make it, the bright colours they want to use – the ideas are flying faster than bullets out of a machine gun.  One thing leads to another and another then another, the quiet, virtually silent lethargic Monday has come alive!

“It’s such a joy working with these guys as it never ceases to amaze me how we can talk about what we could do in the coming months – one idea leads to another, excitement kicks in and all of a sudden the next months’ worth of lessons are planned.  Just down to me to make sure we can do them safely, that there is learning for everyone within them and we can source the required items to make it all happen” says Maddy Wickens Learning Mentor.

Excited by the idea of creating a Chinese Dragon the students want to know what the dragon stands for, why it’s important and in linking it to a celebration we get back to food.  Looking in recipe books at Chinese food we decide to create a celebration meal using what’s left in the winter garden – from soil to plate in less than 90 minutes, fresh, wholesome and nutritious – all part of the learning.

“Now to make it all authentic with chop sticks (I can’t use them – better learn fast and create a practical fun way to teach these guys), Chinese lanterns (we can work with the students to make these and table decorations too).  Oh, better not forget the fortune cookies, prawn crackers and Chinese sweets.  Working with adults who learn differently, feeling their excitement, seeing the joy they get from learning not to mention the confidence it gives them is, well, just beyond words some days” says a beaming Maddy.

And with the meal planned it’s off to raid the craft cupboard ready to make the dragon and as we leave the kitchen Melissa suggests, with a cheeky grin “Mexico next”?