OPEN HOUSE

See first hand what our Children's Garden Experience is all about!

Garden to Kitchen: where and how our food grows

Our weekly garden class will provide your school aged child with a well rounded farm to table experience. Garden class will guide your child from seed to belly, while you watch them develop healthy eating habits and practices along the way.

Trying to balance giving your child the opportunities they deserve & nurture a healthy relationship with food often feels like an endless battle.

IMG_9654-Edit
IMG_9671-Edit
daniela-son-compressed

Life is busy and we often have to prioritize our time and make tough decisions about what our kids will do in a day.

Art classes vs movement classes

Free play vs healthy, home cooked meal

Family time vs homework

Downtime to connect with nature vs all the other things in the week

 

The busy and hustle of family life causes you to compromise your food choices and in turn your little one’s eating habits suffer.

You know that feeling that you're constantly falling short and can never really provide the opportunities that you value most?

Amaia knife skills

Maybe your child even asks to cook in the kitchen with you but just the idea of that feels unpractical and insane. You just need to “get it done”, right?

 

harvesting in the garden for our Children's Cooking and Gardening Class 2017

Maybe the lack of available green spaces in NYC hinder your ability to provide your child with the open play, exploration and exposure to our natural food system that ALL children need.

running in grass

Running in a field of grass, watching the birds and chipmunks play while building a fort with sticks is not an everyday activity for most NYC kids.

Let's be REAL - it’s not even a monthly or yearly activity.

Life is busy and you WANT to start helping your children develop a taste for healthy, nutritional food and to instill a passion for good foods, but it’s just another thing to balance on your massive plate of parenthood.

Here's thing...

You don’t have to provide all the things to your child on your own.

We're here to help you provide your child with the opportunity to develop a healthy relationship with food & experience the joy of community and our natural world.

We often here the expression, "It takes a village", but it is our mission to actually support you in that philosophy because we believe in our core that when our families are succeeding, then our children are support and will impact the future of our world.

Nurturing a generation of thoughtful, mindful and empathetic children is what will move our society forward. That is the driving force of our kids' programming.

Our Garden Experience is more than just a hobby class

20170812_100304
IMG_0989-Edit
Just sitting on a bench eating guacamole in the garden.

Our weekly garden class is designed to give your child the opportunity to learn where their foods comes from & how to tend to a garden and the creatures within it.

Curriculum is carefully curated to ensure that we are providing a well rounded experience for your child each week. 

In garden class, your child will explore food in a fun & safe environment and nurture a greater connection to our planet & one another.

Our goal is to support your child where they are and guide them down a path filled with whole foods, social responsibility and environmental awareness.

The exciting part for you - They will be cooking more at home and eventually helping by making their own snacks and small meals!

 

Every week, The Connected Chef offers our 60 minute kids garden class in Astoria, Queens to provide you access to the support and education you and your child deserve.

 

By providing your child with a weekly garden class, they will receive consistent exposure to whole foods and relative developmental skills, which creates a strong and lasting foundation for healthy eating and independent choices.

Our Kids’ Garden Experience will support you and your child in:

  • Developing independent and healthy food choices that will stay with them for a lifetime
  • Nurturing the natural connection kids have to our planet
  • Guiding your child through the ups and downs of social dynamics
  • Supporting their education and growth in the specific stage of their life.

What we cover in our weekly garden class...

Exposure to Whole Foods

As we said - Food is our medium.

At The Connected Chef, food is our language. It’s how we relate, teach, learn and explore.

Our philosophy is that there is no BAD food.

(Now, that doesn’t mean everything kids are used to eating is actually food. Edible and Real food are two different things)

We will be a consistent source of whole and natural food for your child. This class will be a safe place for them to explore new flavors and textures without the pressure and power struggle that often comes in a parent-child relationship.

Some students begin class never trying a single thing they make. Others gobble it up.

We meet your kiddo where they are at. Without shame and blame attached to their (or your) choices.

The beauty of slowly guiding your child down this path of whole and healthy foods is that when they do work up the courage to try for the first time (and they always do), we are there to celebrate them and nudge them further.

It also means that their journey is their own. The build solid confidence and independence in their food choices It’s not forced and it sticks with them for a lifetime.

Developmentally Appropriate Skills

Your child is challenged developmentally and has the opportunity to practice relevant skills for their stage in life.

  • Fine motor skills that will help them practice their cutting in pre-school or better their handwriting skills in 1st grade.
  • Spacial awareness & gross motor skills
  • Social interaction and dynamics
  • Counting, addition, subtraction, fractions, measurements
  • Science of all kinds

Wherever your child is - we meet them at that space and support them.

Social Skills

Social skills are an aspect of learning that has become widely out of focus in many schools and other programming. It’s now your job as your child’s parents to ensure they are social adept and emotionally capable. We don’t think that’s fair on anyone.

Practicing social skills and emotional awareness is extremely important in ensuring a healthy environment for learning in our classes.

We believe strongly in supporting your child while they practice both identifying and verbalizing how they feel and what they need. Body awareness, emotional awareness and verbalizing boundaries is a constant conversation throughout the work we do with your child.

This focus also promotes empathy and compassion for your child’s self and their peers.

Supporting young children in hearing one another and caring for one another is what will help build a more harmonious, compassionate & understanding society

Our small class size is essential for maintaining this standard.

Art and Movement

Food is also our way to open up conversations and opportunities for art, music and movement in the classroom.

Art is the perfect way for kids to understand and relate to a conversation about our food system and the life cycle of the fruits and vegetables they eat. We utilize art, music, dance and stories to immerse your child into these environmentally focused conversations and lessons.

Community & Nature

At its core, food brings people together. Food is a source of personal nourishment, but it is the heart of a community.

Both inside and out of the classroom, your child will begin to view and connect with their community on a deeper level.

Your child will also have the opportunity to participate in our community demonstrations and workshops throughout the year. This gives your kiddo the chance to show of their skills and connect to their community using the skills they’ve worked so hard on.

Here’s how it works…

Food is our medium during our 60 minute garden class.

Your child will be in a garden class with 6-8 of their peers learning where their food comes from and how it is prepared. Food is our way to both connect your child with the group as a whole and to create connection and practice in the various areas of focus.

The main focus of each garden class is the science & skill the garden. Through this main intention, each class presents itself with the opportunity for sensory exploration, art, movement, story, social dynamics and environmentally driven conversations.

 

Class Flow

When your child arrives for their garden class, they will be  greeted by one of our trained and experienced educators at our fully gated, community garden. We begin garden class each week with a garden sound meditation where we listen for specific sounds of the garden. From there the lesson and exploration begins.

Your child will practice garden specific life skills, based on the lesson for each given week.

  • Garden tool safety
  • Tending to the garden (appropriate watering and weeding techniques)
  • Plant/Vegetable identification
  • Understanding of soil health

As your child becomes more experienced in garden class and shows they are both responsible and developmentally ready for more, they will begin to learn the more in depth science of the garden.

  • Medicinal properties of plants (aka – why various plants are healthy for you)
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystems of the garden
  • Tending to the garden on a macro level (building support structures, inventing and problem solving for specific garden issues.

Children work closely with their instructor to accomplish the tasks needed for that week in the garden.

Communication

In our dedication to not only nurturing your child's relationship with food, but supporting your whole family, we maintain consistent communication with you throughout your child's time with us.

Within our virtual community you will receive weekly tips and videos to help you begin to cook at home with your child. The will be coming home ready to practice their new skills and we want to make sure YOU'RE ready as well.

Our educators will also be touching base every four weeks with updates on the skills your child is practicing and how you can best support them on your time.

We encourage all of our families to reach out to us on our virtual community board, via email or in person at your weekly class with any questions and support you may be needing.

Solstice Celebrations

You and your child will have the special opportunity to join us for our bi-annual Solstice Celebrations where we will celebrate your child's progress in class and further nurture our community.

During a Solstice Celebration, your kiddo will get to meet children from the other weekly classes and partake in fun activities together.

They will also be showcasing their skills by cooking for you and the other families. This show of skill promotes confidence and builds community.

But the celebration is not only for them, with each solstice celebration we practice a mindfulness tool and offer something to our earth or community as well. This practice allows your child to nurture their connection to something outside of themselves and promotes empathy.

Let's also not forget the individual recognition that you child will receive alongside other students. Children take SUCH pride in their work and being recognized for a particular aspect of their work is one of their favorite parts of this celebration.

Get Started Today

We recommend that all families come for a Trial Class with us first to get a full idea of what our community is all about.

2019-2020 Schedule of Classes

Raising Astoria

26-11 23rd Ave, Astoria

Monday's @ 4pm

ACD Play Space

31-24 38th St, Astoria

Thursday @  4:30pm

After registering online, you will receive a welcome email and some paperwork to complete before the start of your class. This paperwork will ensure that we have all the food allergy and specific information about your child’s needs.

Once you come for your trial class and love it - we will get you all set with the membership option that suits your family best.

Membership Options

At The Connected Chef we strongly believe that our work with your children is about exposing them to whole foods and positive food experiences on a regular basis AND supporting YOU to make the adjustments you'd like around food, cooking and connecting with your children.

For this reason, our membership options provide support for your child AND you. While a regular cooking class is great - we are dedicated to supporting your family in bringing this work home with you as well. That won’t happen alone.

Full Family Membership - $205/month

A major benefit to your full family membership is the chance to taking our cooking & garden class together! What better way to support your child than to have them learning where their food grows AND how to prepare it.

Kids get:

  • Unlimited weekly classes - Kids get consistent exposure to whole foods and relative developmental skills, which creates a strong and lasting foundation for healthy eating and independent choices.
  • Chef Kit: includes a Connected Chef Apron, Kid-Safe Chef Knife & Digital Recipe Book.
  • Special discounts to various camps/workshops outside of weekly classes as well as family cooking classes.
  • VIP access to participation in community demonstrations and events
  • Participation in our quarterly Student Celebration where the kids get to show off their skills and cook for their grown ups!

Parents get support here as well!

  • 1 Family Cooking Class that can be used within 3 months of your registration
  • Access to our new private Membership Only Community where parents get updates on the activities and progress of their kiddos as well as tips and support for themselves around cooking.
  • Special discount on our Monthly Meal Planning support

Basic Family Membership - $175/month

Kids get:

  • Once weekly classes - Kids get consistent exposure to whole foods and relative developmental skills, which creates a strong and lasting foundation for healthy eating and independent choices.
  • Connected Chef Apron & Digital Recipe Book.
  • Special discounts to various camps/workshops outside of weekly classes as well as family cooking classes.
  • Participation in our quarterly Student Celebration where the kids get to show off their skills and cook for their grown ups!

Parents get support here as well!

  • Access to our new private Membership Only Community where parents get updates on the activities and progress of their kiddos as well as tips and support for themselves around cooking.

About Us

Kim Calichio, Founder

Kim as a mom

To Kim and the rest of The Connected Chef team, Food is the means by which we develop a more compassionate, connected society.

Before moving on to become a professional chef for top NYC restaurants, Kim studied at SUNY Stony Brook in research psychology. With The Connected Chef, Kim gets to combine her experiences and her passions by supporting families to use food as a medium to connect on a deeper level.

Through kids cooking & gardening classes, adult cooking classes and private, hand-tailored offerings - The Connected Chef gives you and your family a joyful way to connect with each other and the environment through food.

Tracy Serdjenian, Educator

Tray Serdjenian

With a Masters in Social Work, Tracy has an extensive background in child welfare and advocacy work. She is also local to Astoria and continues to be a dedicated member of our community in the work that she does. Tracy brings a sweet and calm energy to our class and is just in love with all the kids she works with. Her passion for community and nature/food leads her sweet & calm energy in class. She is just in love with all the kids she works with and loves & embraces the controlled chaos that is a kids’ cooking class.

Providing your child with the access to whole foods and cooking will allow them to build a lifelong relationship with food and nature. This experience will deepen their relationship with themselves, their community and you. You don’t have to do it alone

If you're looking for guidance around how to support your child in nurturing their relationship with food, then this is the space for you.

Some questions you might be wondering...