Class teaches life skills to kids living with disabilities
Katie Carpenter | 10.22.13
These kids are part of The Arc, which provides real-world experiences to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Pestka says, “This kitchen is fabulous for this because the kids really get to play.” Making the class fun for them is just one of the ingredients of the class’ success. Another, is making healthy food that the kids will actually eat. Take a look:
“I don’t think I have a big chance of getting them to eat vats of Brussels sprouts, but I do think I can get them to eat a whole wheat pizza. Food in moderation is the way to go with things,” Pestka says.
The pizzas were a hit with both the kids and adults.
Pestka focuses on fresh ingredients and simple dishes that the kids can make at home with their parents.
“The idea is just to give them another skill- another chance to excel.”
Students like Baron Holmes enjoy cooking with Jackie each week. “She’s a good cook -she’s a good teacher -she’s good at everything.”
The class takes them outside of the classroom once a week, and teaches them life skills like cooking, exercising, and even working at a hotel.
Susquehanna Township High School Life Skills Teacher Julie Sigmans says it’s been great for her students and truly provides them with the real-world experience they need. she says, “This social interaction, learning about wellness and nutrition- they’re all going to be successful and be able to live as independently as possible.”
She’s seen many of her students find jobs and follow their dreams after they leave school.
Pestka says that Wednesdays, when she cooks with the kids, has become her favorite day of the week. “Every one of these children has touched my heart. We’ve all been changed a little bit.”