One of the many great things about our day programs is the chance to develop life skills.  

The Blue Tongue Crew is a young-adult age group – from school leavers to age 30. And like many young adults, they want to learn to do things for themselves, and be more independent!  

But sitting through a booorrring lesson on how to do something like use a washing machine? No one wants to do that! (Press this, click that … no thanks!) 

So, we make sure that we build life skills into all of our programs. It’s learning, but it’s fun!  

Take, for example, a day in our ‘Plot to Plate’ cooking program.  The Crew isn’t simply given ingredients and a recipe. Take about 10 steps back, to see how we really start building some skills! Here are just some of the learning experiences and problem-solving opportunities we’ll work through as a small group: 

  • What are we going to make today? Is it nutritious? Does everyone agree on today’s meal plan? 
  • What ingredients do we need? What can we use from our garden? Let’s make a grocery list. 
  • How much money do we have to spend to buy those ingredients? 
  • How are we going to get to the shops? Can we take the car today, or do we need to find another way to get there? Could we walk to the shops? Could we catch a bus? 
  • Now that we’ve made it to the shops – where in this giant grocery store will we find the ingredients we need? 
  • What can we afford with our budget? Let’s compare prices.  
  • Great, got everything – now we need to pay. Where are the registers?  Shall we self-serve, or chat to the checkout operator at the big checkout? Cash or card? How much should it cost? How much money do we have left over? 
  • Now we have to get our shopping back to the kitchen, the way we came. 
  • Back at the kitchen, we can work as a team to get started on cooking up our feast! 

Once we’re in the kitchen, we’re learning everything we can about meal preparation.  

  • We learn and practice hygiene: having clean hands, wearing gloves, and not mixing utensils.  
  • We also learn about knife skills: how to chop, dice and slice ingredients safely, and in neat, consistent sizes. (They’ll cook better AND it looks better too!)  
  • We learn about working safely in the kitchen with others around hot appliances, or things that could spill.   

And of course, we’re following a recipe, paying attention to the procedure, step by step.  

Everyone’s favourite part comes when lunch is ready, and we can take the time to sit down with our friends and enjoy the meal we prepared together! Socialising over lunch helps us to build genuine relationships. 

Importantly, we learn to clean up after ourselves, keeping the kitchen clean and tidy! Everything must be washed properly, and put back where it belongs. Surfaces get wiped down, and we leave the place spick-and-span. 

So, in one fun and engaging day at the Plot to Plate program, we work on skills such as: 

  • working with others, and respecting others’ feelings 
  • planning 
  • budgeting 
  • problem solving 
  • grocery shopping 
  • money handling 
  • kitchen safety and hygiene 
  • meal prep and cooking skills 
  • team work 
  • following procedures 
  • cleaning up after ourselves and respecting our space

Plus, there are days when we need to maintain our herb and vegetable gardens, so we’re learning about sustainability, as well as the value of growing our own food. 

AND we do it all while hanging out with friends, sharing fun experiences and building genuine friendships! 

Hmm, isn’t it funny …  with all these skills under our belt, using the washing machine doesn’t seem so overwhelming anymore!