Cooking is a very coveted activity and moment of community for children. As a matter of fact around nourishment revolves the physical and mental development of the individual, therefore it plays a crucial role for children, especially for those at a primitive level of mental functioning.
The kitchen is a place where children communicate with each other, learn with joy, come in contact with new things and where, sometimes, do so by teaching.
In the kitchen, many experiences happen and children are offered extremely different opportunities, from the simple gesture of pressing cookies into shape, to the opportunity of preparing a full recipe. Living the kitchen experience, they can engage with emotional and cognitive involvement in the transformation of matter (the combination of ingredients, the raw/cooked transition...) and experience the time of change: concrete metaphors of their own growth and the possibility for change.
Cooking can also become a living science lab where not only does a practical-theoretical activity transforms into in a final product, but where it is possible to throw in some elements of maths, biology, chemistry, history, geography.
An important moment in everyday life, lunch provides an organisation framework in which the basic function of nutrition and the relationship with food overlap with cognitive and relational content in a family environment, where objects and furnishings are chosen with care. Thus, the dining room is made up of two well-defined, adjoining spaces fulfilling the characteristics required by the different ages of children and adolescents and to allow for proximity and appropriate distance from adults who, at one point of the hall, fills the the plate that the guests bring.
Attention for the characteristics of each child's relationship with food to stimulate confidence and awareness, without causing excessive anxiety and frustration, brings to mind every detail of the aesthetics and the function of tables and spatial arrangement.
Bowls with flowers and small lit candles are placed at the centre of each table, music in the background or adult reading a text helps build an atmosphere soothing the anxiety of turn-waiting, the ambivalence with respect to food, and the anxiety about a prolonged and complex group situation. Adults also help children recognise the quality of food and adjust the amount thereof by regulating greed and lack of appetite; the experience of regulating these feelings recalls and stimulates the management of affection.