Vermont School Garden

A visit to a Vermont public school garden through the seasons.

Homemade Pizza in Kindergarten

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summer tomatoes

Kinderarten harvestLast summer’s Roma tomatoes spent the winter in my freezer after they were harvested by the Kindergarten students in Valerie’s room. This month, I thawed them, still whole and unprocessed. I brought them to school along with some pre made pizza dough and a few other ingredients that make pizza taste like the kind you get at your favorite local restaurant….oregano, cheese, garlic, peppers..

I experimented ahead of time with the tomatoes, squeezing 3 cups of them into mush by hand, pouring off a little of the water, and then adding them to a mixture of diced onion, garlic and oregano that I had sizzling in some olive oil in a medium sized frying pan. When the tomatoes had cooked down to a consistency that resembled sauce (about 15 minutes), I used a wand to puree the ingredients. Voila!…. a fine looking pizza sauce. You could  use a blender or food processor.

I  made the pizza dough ahead of time. The dough requires 2 hours in a warm place to rise. (Recipe is included in this article.) You can also find ready made pizza dough in most grocery stores. I’ve even seen ready made crusts….just add your favorite toppings and fire up the oven!

The kids rolled out the pizza dough, grated the mozzarella cheese and cut up a green pepper. Then it was time to put the pizzas together! While they were in Art class, the pizza baked in a preheated 475 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Good book to read together while you’re waiting: “Pete’s a Pizza” by William Steig!

Many thanks to Valerie Kosednar and her K’s.

Hadley squeezing tomatoes

cutting peppers Valerie, Christopher

Grating cheese Meredith Ty

punching tomatoes Maya RhiannaJosh and Robert Kind. Tom.  sauce

assembled pizza

For a first hand experience, these Kindergartners made tomato sauce right in their classroom. Ooooh the giggles as they squished the tomatoes between their hands! I precut the onions and garlic. Those can be hard  for little ones to cut up. We cooked the sauce in a large pot on a hot plate, adding a little salt and oregano to taste. Then we froze it for a future cooking date. (Maybe spaghetti with our own garden tomato sauce?)

One Kindergartner’s reaction to our pizza: “Those peppers tasted so good they almost made me POP!”

It’s just about time to start tomato plants from seed for this summer’s tomato crop!

3 K's rolling dough for pizzacheese on pizza

Tighe and Christopher eating pizza copy

      pizza response paper

WHAT A SPRINGBOARD THIS LESSON WAS FOR ENCOURAGING KINDERGARTENERS TO WRITE! THEY WORKED HARD FOR TWO DAYS AT LABELING THEIR PICTURES WITH THE BEGINNING, ENDING AND MIDDLE SOUNDS THAT THEY COULD REMEMBER. THEY HELPED EACH OTHER WITH THIS WRITING ASSIGNMENT.

Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe

(makes one average-sized cookie sheet pizza)

4 cups flour                        1 Tablespoon yeast

1 1/3 cups warm water          1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons olive oil           ¼ c. cornmeal

1.Dissolve yeast in water

2. Add salt, and olive oil and stir. Then slowly add flour until dough is soft but not sticky

3. Knead dough on a clean floured surface for 10 minutes.

4. Let dough rise in a warm place for about two hours.

5. Using more flour as needed, roll the dough out on a flat surface and fit it to the pan.

6. Oil pan and sprinkle with corn meal, then add dough, adjusting it to the edges of the pan

7. Add your favorite sauce and toppings.

8. Bake in a preheated 475 degree oven

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Author: vermontschoolgarden

I have been an elementary teacher at the Westminster Center School for 30 years. For most of those years, I maintained a garden as part of my teaching curriculum resource. Now I am the Garden Coordinator for all of the Westminster Center School classrooms.

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