I’ve been reading a lovely book with Miss 3 about the way the Chumash Indian people used to live in Santa Barbara ‘The Chumash Through a Child’s Eyes‘. The book compares their life to our modern day life in a lovely way that young children can comprehend. On one page is a Chumash Indian child helping his mother to cook, next to another page of a young boy helping his mother to cook in a modern day kitchen. The book shows how the pattern of our daily lives isn’t that different, but the way we do things has changed through tools and technology.
Whilst reading the page on cooking, my three year old decided to try and recreate the way the Chumash Indian cooked acorn flour.
First she looked for a stick, finding a skewer in the kitchen pantry. Then she looked for a stone to attach to the stick. We talked about how a stone could be attached to the stick. I suggested putting a marshmallow on the end of the stick, but Miss 3 rightly explained that a marshmallow is soft, not hard like a stone. She suggested they may have made a hole in the stone to put the stick in it – but we talked about how it would be hard to make a hole and perhaps they would have bound the rock to the stick (we used a hairband for this purpose).
Then we needed fire, to heat the rock.
Miss 3 brought me a candle and a lighter.
She then asked for a bowl. She gathered acorns from the garden and asked for water to mix the acorns in.
We acted out heating the rock and then placing it in the water to heat the water and help ‘cook’ the acorns – adding conventional flour to the mix.
This learning was led by Miss 3, with my role helping to facilitate, respond and observe. It was a joyful experience and an example of how natural learning frequently happens in the home.