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Mini chefs learn new skills in a sweet way

School is over at Fox Run Elementary, but a group of first and second-graders have stuck around because they want to learn how to cook.

Eight-year-old Leo Ochoa, who said he usually goes by ‘Leo the Lion,’ said he is excited to be part of the campus cooking club because wants to be a baker one day.

“I’ve been in here for a really long time and I love it. I’m not like ‘oh I don’t want to be in cooking club or I hate cooking club.’ That’s not how I feel! I feel good! I get to learn about new things,” the second-grader said.

Pre-K teacher Melissa Kwan has been sponsoring the club for over a decade.

She previously also taught Kindergarten and first grade.

“They love to cook; they like to do adult things and they love to mimic, that’s how they learn,” Kwan said.

This month, the mini chefs have learned how to make cherry turnovers in honor of Presidents’ Day.

It helps reinforce in a fun and meaningful way. As they cook, they use their math skills. They are measuring things, they are multiplying, they are using their science skills because they are seeing how things change as it’s heated or cooled. Also, reading skills because they are reading the recipes and for meaning. They also have to have actual comprehension because if you can’t comprehend the directions, then you can’t make it,” Kwan added.

Leo said his family is impressed with all of the things he’s learned at school.

“They think you are being like really prepared so you can make a cake for like your kids, so when you grow up you can make a cake for your kids, like okay that’s a starter,” Ochoa said.

Ms. Kwan is passionate about teaching and enjoys seeing her students’ faces light up when they learn something new.

“I’ve been in North East my whole teaching career; I’ve been teaching over 25 years. With little children, a lot of the learning is hands-on and doing; I just love the discovery,” she said.

Leo said he is learning a lot from his cooking teacher.

“She just makes me feel so good. Like, I just can’t stop feeling things about her because she lets us know stuff and she teaches us stuff and she always wants us to be clean. That’s what I like about her,” he said.

Ms. Kwan said the Fox Run community is a unique one.

“I think the Fox Run community wants to include the community and include children wherever they are at and whatever their interests lie,” she said.

Leo also said he enjoys being a part of Fox Run Elementary and encourages other kids his age to learn a new skill too, like he did with cooking.  

“My dad said ‘I give up’ is not a word; he said you have to get that out. Don’t feel that experience; the more that you keep thinking that, the more you are just going to start thinking that you can’t,” he said.  

Discover the NEISD way, where our educators inspire students to find their passion. 


Ashley Speller