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Cooking offers many valuable learning opportunities and experiences. Annette Rawstrone hears how different nurseries use it in their practice.

Encouraging healthy eating is just one of the many benefits of gardening, reports Annette Rawstrone.

Kitchen sessions in partnership with a local school have helped to support healthy living, says the children centre teacher team from the Birth to Five Service, Lincolnshire County Council.

Never mind if the plant is a weed, it's wild, free, cookable and edible, as children and their families found out with Viv Hampshire.

Rewards across all areas of learning will be the result when you get young children together in a baking activity, says Judit Horvath.

The learning potential for children preparing food as well as eating it is explored by Judith Napier

There's a lot to learn, and enjoy, from growing vegetables at any early years setting, and there's always a space for it, as Mary Whiting explain.

Older people added a special ingredient to a nursery cookery project described by Veronica Broyd, headteacher at Kendal Nursery School in Cumbria.

The best way to get children to think about our disappearing wildlife is to have them take an active part in its resurrection - and it's really simple to do, says Mary Whiting.

The build-up of knowledge through successive experiences can be well used for healthy living, say Alison Tonkin, Cath Alderson and Gill Roberts.