Gill St. Bernard’s officially opened the doors to its Lower School Kitchen Discovery Lab—an innovative, student-centered space designed to provide our youngest learners the chance to explore, experiment, and of course, grow.
Located inside of the Cox Building, the Kitchen Discovery Lab marks an exciting new chapter for the GSB Lower School with a continued commitment to experiential learning for Preschool – 4th Grade students. From studying food from around the world in World Language classes or weighing vegetables from Home Winds Farm in a math lesson to learning about nutrition and food science in their science and STREAMS courses, the new space is designed to help students apply abstract concepts through real-world application.
Moreso, the Discovery Kitchen will serve as an inspirational learning environment where teachers can create interdisciplinary lesson plans that encourage creative thinking, establish fine motor skills, strengthen group collaboration and social-emotional development, explore cultural connections, and develop essential life skills of cooking and food safety.
"The Kitchen Discovery Lab truly signifies the unique learning opportunities our school has to offer,” said Lower and Middle School Director Kyle Armstrong.
“This is a hands-on space where students can be directly involved in their learning. Whether through measuring, weighing, or mixing, students will have a chance to be at the center of their learning. This fits hand-in-hand with our school motto, The World is our Classroom, and everything that Gill represents.”
The bright, inviting space features several impressive features to nurture academic creativity and create connections with the larger GSB community, including:
- Grow Lights: A special corner of the Kitchen is reserved for a living laboratory space for Lower School Science classes to examine plant cycles throughout the year. Classes will regularly plant microgreens to examine the needs of seeds, produce production, agriculture, and help grow produce for the garden and student Earth Boxes in the spring.
- Student-Inspired Mosaic Tile Art: The walls of the Kitchen are adorned by photos from Home Winds Farm and handmade mosaic tiles from Lower School art projects. Each tile was created by the Class of 2030 to 2034 and displays a series of fruits, vegetables, grains, and other colorful foods to brighten the room.
- Digital Classroom Enhancements: With a newly installed Smart TV and Video Camera, students will be able to follow teacher instructions while continuing to focus on their projects.
- Essential Kitchen Supplies: Our high-quality mixing bowls, measuring cups, and other child-safe cookware will help guide culinary explorations.
While the Kitchen may be most associated with the school’s academic projects, the versatile space can also be utilized in a variety of ways including enhanced After School Programs, group projects in the Lower School’s weekly “WILD Wednesday” activities, as well as community-building opportunities like tasting cuisines from different cultures and preparing dishes for school traditions such as Stone Soup Day.
“The Kitchen allows us to explore the relationship between the land and food,” said Lower School Science Teacher Lynn Prosen.
“The Home Winds Garden nourishes us with so many different fruits and vegetables. I can’t wait to connect the Kitchen to the garden and Earth boxes and have students experience the entire life cycle of a plant, including its use in our food chain. I want students to see how foods grown locally will often look and taste different than produce in the grocery store. It’s also exciting for students to learn about the foods that are going into the dining hall and the work involved in growing them in order to try to reduce food waste. Plus, there’s a lot that the kids can learn about composting and how much produce you can get from one single seed.”
The tactile learning space was made possible through the gift of a GSB community member who wished to build upon the Lower School’s outstanding programs and have students experience the curriculum in new and exciting ways.
“It is an honor and joy for our family to gift the Kitchen Discovery Lab to GSB’s Lower School,” said the family. “Our teachers have an amazing new space and tools to enhance the outstanding programs they bring to our children. Prospective families will see this space and have the opportunity to appreciate some of the many dimensions of what a GSB education could be for their child. And, hopefully, seeing the Kitchen Discovery Lab will inspire our GSB community of families to answer the call to invest in our students and teachers, both for today and tomorrow.”
The Kitchen officially opened on October 7, 2022, with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony. Head of School Sid Rowell stood before a crowd of Lower School families outside of the Cox Building front doors to unveil the grand opening, with Lower Schoolers receiving the honor of seeing the kitchen first before families happily toured the space and imagined the sweet moments that are to come.