Thursday, August 12, 2010

Teaching Preschoolers How Cheese is Made

How Ricki and Jamie taught a workshop for 3 year olds and lived to tell the tale!

Ricki (the Cheese Queen) and Jamie (the Cheese King) have a very tight schedule, what with running the business, teaching cheesemaking workshops, singing in a chorus, hosting singing workshops, building a new barn at the castle and growing their own vegetables.

However, their good friend, Nancy Hoff, who owns the local  hardware store, asked them to teach a cheesemaking workshop for the Ashfield Community Preschool.  Well, as they say, if you want to get something done, ask a busy person.

Ricki and Jamie set up the workshop room and waited for their little participants to arrive.  The goal was to show them how easy it is to make Mozzarella.
Soon, the little ones arrived on the front porch, very excited to be on a field trip.
Jamie couldn't help but smile when they paraded into the room.  He loves a challenge!
After everyone was seated, Ricki asked for a volunteer to wear the big chef's hat.
To make it more tangible for the children, Ricki and Jamie passed each one a cup with a little bit of warm milk and rennet in it.
Ricki started the Mozzarella going and explained the process while Jamie prepared a separate batch (so there would be enough for everyone to eat later).
Ricki suggested they pull their chairs up.  (Normally, the adults look in the mirror above the work area, but 3 year olds have a hard time grasping that concept.)
When it came time to stir in the citric acid, Ricki asked for volunteers and one by one, they took turns.
Now there was a five minute wait while the rennet set and the children were starting to get restless.  Ricki had the brilliant idea to sit them in a circle and talk about Little Miss Muffet and her curds and whey.
Then, Ricki carried the pot to the circle and they took turns cutting the curds.
Everyone was amazed by the way the milk had turned into curds and whey.
Ricki drained the curds and before she even heated them, they began to stick together.
Soon, there was Mozzarella, but the fun had not yet begun!
Ricki stretched it as far as she could to show the youngsters.  They were fascinated!
Now for the most fun of all- Ricki and Jamie peeled the Mozzarella to make string cheese.  This was the ultimate crowd pleaser!
Everyone ate as much as they could -some more than others . . .
Well, that was it.  The teachers and parents got them ready to head back to the preschool.  But, not before holding hands in a circle and singing a thank you song.
Bye, Bye.


the MILK MAID said...

What a wonderful story! Isn't it the most blessed thing, sharing with tiny people and seeing the wonder and awe in their eyes as they experience new things. Thanks for sharing with the children, Rikki, and double thanks for telling us all about it!

PhotographicAmy said...

I have just ordered my first cheese kit this week and I can't wait to get it and make cheese with my 7 year old and my book club!

daughann3 said...

I loved the narrative picture show! I love making mozzarella, and thanks to you Rikki, I am buying a milking goat to make all sorts of cheese!