The Bear Chef Children’s Books encourage young children to start cooking and to gain confidence in “food handling and understanding” with the support of an adult. They cover a range of early science concepts and encourage learning in the early years. "Mr. Willow's Herb Garden and Some Very Cheeky Seagulls" is written specifically for young children and adults to share. It is a lovely true life story told with photographs about the cheeky seagulls that made a nest and reared their babies in Mr. Willow's herb garden! Smell the herbs together and then follow Rosemary and Minty those cheeky chicks as they hatch, grow, and learn. Follow the link to see them “live” on YouTube! This book is full of beautiful photographs, sensory activities and ideas to capture and extend your child's imagination and learning. As with his other books "Mr. Willow's Herb Garden and Some Very Cheeky Seagulls" has a simple and practical recipe to make together at the end ... his trade mark for encouraging food understanding and healthy eating in the early years. Mr Willow and his dedicated team at Willow Cottage Nurseries, Oxford now hold a Leading Aspect in Education Award for their cutting-edge performance and practice within early year’s education.
Valerie Grady B.Sc. (London) P.G.C.E. (Warwick) E.Y.P.S. (Oxford)
Valerie is Founding Director of Education at Willow Cottage Nurseries, Oxford, England, where she has over 28 years experience in delivering healthy food and fun-food-education for young children. She is a post graduate home economics teacher (Warwick) with a Food Sciences honours degree (Kings, London) gaining her Early Years Professional Status (Oxford).
Valerie is passionate about re-instating and revitalising basic cookery skills within our homes and schools and believes that this should begin "right from the start" both at home and within the Early Years Curriculum. In order to make learning about healthy food "fun" for young children she created a healthy food hero called Mr. Willow (A Teddy Bear Chef) to help her in her quest.
In 2012 Valerie and her team at Willow Cottage gained a Leading Aspect Award in Education for their cutting-edge performance and practice in early year's food education and its dissemination into the learning community.
Mr. Willow (The Bear Chef) now appears in his own children's books which have been written for children and adults to share. His books, recipe books, fun-food-activities and other "foodie" resources are published in order to share and promote this practice; they provide a wealth of educational material and lots of activities to inspire, enable, interest and extend a child's learning. Each book has a practical and healthy recipe to make, to encourage early cookery and healthy eating.
The title of Leading Aspect Award is - Nursery Food Matters - An Embedded Educational Philosophy. Mr. Willow's healthy food campaign "Nursery Food Matters" is set to help fight childhood obesity and to educate children about healthy food "right from the start".