Baking cookies and learning Maths – a perfect recipe! How getting hands-on in the kitchen can help children with number work 

Written by Morwenna Lawson, owner of Wordfairy for SENsational Tutors Ltd.

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There’s no better time to get children interested in cooking than during those early years, alongside early academic development. The fun idea of a lesson that might incorporate both cooking and mathematics is the premise of a new after-school class currently being trialled in north London.

It was business administrator Debora Mazzitelli’s passion for cooking – combined with her background in finance – that paved the path for starting a class in which younger children could enjoy puzzling over maths questions while stirring the batter for a batch of cookies.

Debora has joined forces with Joanna Gibbs, Founder and Director of SENsational Tutors Ltd. to create an innovative new concept for an after-school activity for primary school children.

‘Our first trial went very well, and the children were all fully engaged in the lesson. We followed a basic recipe and they answered maths questions, and had fun decorating the biscuits at the end.’

The recipes and questions are for children aged five to nine, covering Key Stages 1 and 2. Classes happen after school in various locations around London at a clients’ house, in a friendly but educational setting, with small groups of children following recipe cards. Debora develops the recipes and runs the baking sessions. Joanna sets the Maths questions and creates bespoke handouts for the children to work with.

‘Not only do the children have to work out measurements and weights,’ she says, ‘but at various stages we ask them math-related questions, such as “How many sides does the pat of butter have?” and “How many biscuits are there for every child?”

‘What matters most when you cook with children or for children,’ says Debora, ‘is to have them engaged in the cooking. Show them the ingredients, where they come from and why they are good for them. Encourage them to be curious, make it funny and don’t be afraid of making a mess in the kitchen. Cooking, especially baking, involves a lot of maths, so it’s the perfect way for them to practise what they have learnt at school.’

Debora’s career in accounting and business management means she uses numbers every day, but her passions have always been food and education. ‘I love experimenting with food and trying out new recipes, especially Italian food. It’s so important to continually improve ourselves and stay curious, and every year I find something new to learn, be it a sport (kickboxing, tennis, hiking), or a language (I’m studying Spanish). I have a Diploma in social media marketing and I’m currently studying to get a Diploma in Nutrition.’

‘I’ve recently started a catering company for children’s parties, making healthy party food to order at a reasonable price. I’m passionate about healthy eating and nutrition, and hope to pass that on to children through both my classes and parties.’

Joanna’s career working with children started when she worked as a behaviour and educational advisor for the National Health Service. She has an exceptional understanding of the primary years curriculum and the training, experience, and skills necessary to be able to plan and deliver exceptional educational and behavioural support to all children and families.

‘I feel so passionate about helping children find their own voice and be able to express themselves. I do this through education with my business SENsational Tutors and now, with the help of Debora, through cooking.

To receive a FREE download of Debora’s Cookie Recipe and the full step-by-step instructions to inspire a love of Maths at home, please join our brand new Facebook group here!: SENsational Support Group for parents – FREE to join!

You can find out more about Maths in the Kitchen classes or Debora’s party food on her website

At SENsational Tutors Ltd, we aim to inspire a love of learning through fun and exciting activities. Our tutors specialise in supporting children and young adults ages 3-25 in their Maths and English learning. We offer tailor-made behavioural support packages in London to transform the wellbeing of children and parents. This can be combined with additional learning support, if necessary.

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