Story by Educator Alisa
In Johnson House preschool room, our recent cooking experiences and revisiting the storybook ‘Belinda’ by Pamela Allen have led us to explore how butter is made. Having known that milk comes from cows, the children made a mind map to find out what other products are derived from milk. They drew representations of dairy products such as cheese, butter, cream, and buttermilk, which is to make pancakes.
To make butter, we used some thickened cream. Unlike the milk that the children normally drink, the thickened cream has lots of milk fat that is ideal to make butter. The children are learning that butter is made of fats which, at first, they found really funny. This provided further opportunities for us to discuss the importance of these fats to both the mother cow and their baby calves. When the milk first comes out of the cow, it has lots of fat and this fat is a source of the cow’s energy. Similarly, this milk fat helps baby calves to grow strong and healthy. The children shared that they liked drinking milk so that they can be strong and healthy too. They added that drinking milk at night helps them to have a good sleep.
We also brainstormed on how butter might be made. The children suggested that they could either use a grinder or a blender. I acknowledged that both are machines that would be powered by electricity. Factories that produce large quantities of dairy products would definitely need machines to make lots of butter. Then I introduced to them another method to make butter that would use our own energy, through shaking cream inside a jar. So, we began by pouring some cream into a small jar. The children each had a turn to shake the jar. As it is a laborious process, having several people to shake the jar helped hasten the work. Initially, the children heard the sound of the milk as it sloshed against the lid. But after some time, they noticed that the colour of the cream had started to change from white to yellow, and that there was a waft of a buttery smell. They could no longer hear the sound of milk, but they could see that blobs of cream had started to form near the lid of the jar. This was because the repeated shaking had caused the fats to compound together, thus creating butter. I showed the children the finished product and pointed out how the buttermilk had separated from the butter. We sieved the buttermilk to be used to make pancakes and set it aside.
Meanwhile, the children marvelled at the freshly made butter and could not wait to try what they had created. They eagerly spread it on some rice crackers. They felt really pleased with what they had created and kept asking for more. One child even exclaimed, “This is the best butter we ever made!”
Involving children in discussions about the story ‘Belinda’ and making their own mind map provided opportunities for the children to learn how milk is produced and what other dairy products can be derived from milk.
Since the characters in the story, both people and animals, benefited from the milk produced daily by the cow, the children also learned about the interdependence among living things, and how people and animals are dependent on nature for food to survive. The children understood that these food items do not just come directly from supermarkets. They are learning how farmers can provide raw materials such as milk to make cheese and butter and sell these commodities to others, generating businesses. Through experimentation, the children are learning how we can employ certain methods to make butter from cream such as using our own energy and collaborating with others to make the job easier. Involving the children in this hands-on experience, was another great opportunity to support children’s sensory development as they tried the food that they had created.
Story by Educator Cathy
The children in Murray House infants’ room were invited to be a part of the creation of some colourful sensory bottles. With some help from Educators, the children squeezed some baby oil and glue into bottles. As we mixed the ingredients together and gave the bottles a good shake, we looked on with interest as these combined.
Through this experience that children were developing their fine motor, language, and social skills. They also had an opportunity to explore and play with the sensory bottles, and they discovered many creative ways to learn through open-ended play.