Susie Mallett

Parent blog

Saturday 28 February 2015

A bucket full of flavours and fun

Creating hand-in-hand
Today I started my weekend with an exchange of WhatsApp messages between Little Princess, who is no longer so little, and a lady who works in the offices of our Association.

This social-media encounter was all about cooking and food, conductive living and learning.

Little Princess wanted me to send her all the photographs that I have of her cooking. and the lady in the office, Gudrun, wanted to hear all about what we cook and how the cognitive, reading skills and fine-motor skills and more, are all improving so much because the children can help themselves from the weekly grocery supply and create something for us all to eat. Which we off course do, with gusto!

Little Princess had a few new goals at the beginning of the year; one of them was to learn to cook.

Snippety-snip, chop-chop!
Gudrun's role is that every week she sends us a selection of fruit and vegetables that the Association is given.

The supermarket in the row of shops below our central offices usually throws out all the past-best green groceries on Monday morning. That was until our Association stepped in and now Gudrun goes downstairs and brings a shopping trolley full of food back with her. She sorts it before distributing it between the different departments who can put it to good use. The cook gets a share, the InBestForm inclusive cookery group for elderly clients gets a share, and we get some sent out to us in a big black bucket!   

My colleague Évi puts aside as much as she needs for the Conductive Cookery Group on Wednesday evening, this saves her a lot of money and time and also often determines what the group will cook as a side dish or dessert to accompany their chosen main course.

A rather full-of-apple apple-strudel
There is always a lot left for our children’s groups to use. Bananas are always popular as they form the base for many wonderful milk shakes and smoothies that the children love to mix and drink. This week there was a papaya in our bucket, a fruit that none of us had ever tasted before. We all tested a small piece before agreeing that it was delicious. Little Princess used the rest to mix the most delicious drink for us that she has ever made. She added a couple of strawberries and a banana, some milk and yoghurt and some flavouring. The taste of the papaya was the strongest coming through the slight vanilla taste from the vanilla sugar. The recipes all remain a secret until her milk-shake book is published. Her homework, and now also creative-cooking assistant, Annika, will be the co-author and editor, and I will translate it into English, maybe we can persuade Évi to translate it into Hungarian too.

Saving the successful recipe
Any of the bucket-full of produce that is left over at the end of the week is either frozen, pureed or put in the soup-maker.

After work on Friday Évi spent a peaceful ten minutes chopping beans and herbs to put into the freezer. While doing this we made plans for the following week coming up with ideas for the cooking group and for fine-motor programmes for all the children’s groups.

I hope that our lovely lady in the office, Gudrun, realises how much her care and attention to our greengrocery bucket influences the success of our work, how it eases our planning and saves us money, and how it motivates our children and adults to learn, to develop skills, to be creative and to learn about healthy eating.

I send Gudrun photographs and this morning explained to her some of the reasons we appreciate her time and consideration for organises our ‘bucket’.

Little Princess is going to cook her a meal one day soon to say thank you! 

Monday 16 February 2015

The moving of plinths

We had used the plinths conventionally on Friday with three groups, with adults, littlies and the school children, and at the end of the day they needed to be moved to make way for the cleaner.

Before we did this I asked Little Princess whether she remembered the day when she decided to have a competition with Jolly Professor to see who was the strongest – she wanted to discover who could move a plinth to the end of the room first. Little Princess was six years old at the time that this took place and she could not really remember it.

Little Princess loves stories about her life, about my life, about Évi’s life, about anyone’s life, she listens attentively to anyone who will tell her stories about real-life situations.  I told her, Évi and the other children this story –

Six years ago Little Princess, with Jolly Prof’s help, tied ropes to two small children’s plinths which they then used to drag the plinths across the room. Little Princess was the fastest, much to Jolly Professor’s surprise. They practised this exercise several times over the following weeks but each time Little Princess was the fastest. This pushed her up a notch or two in Jolly Professor’s eyes, such strength in a girl was quite impressive he thought. They were already great friends at the time but this was what really solidified the friendship!

I knew even before I began this story that I would have to get the ropes out because Little Princess would wish to attempt the feat again.

It was a bit more difficult this time around because the plinths to be moved were adults' plinths that are larger and also made from a heavier wood than our children’s plinths, but Little Princess was not deterred. With the ropes in place she began tugging but it was tough going. Even when we turned the plinths over it was still really difficult. She started looking around for something to help her.

First she placed a carpet-mat underneath to make it slide. This helped a little but not enough. So she cast her eyes around the room.

Now, Little Princess is a very clever grammar-school pupil. I had attended a Festival of the Romans with her in September so I knew that she had a good idea how to solve this problem. We had seen all sorts of techniques at the festival. Put together with her conductive-upbringing background it was not long before I was called to place our long broom-handle sticks under the plinths so that she could pull the ropes and the plinths would roll to their storage space.

This almost worked too well; Little Princess had to move pretty fast to keep out of the way.

It was fun. Another child, who was having five minutes on the training bike before he went home, enjoyed throwing rings into what he considered to be his pirate ship.