Jennifer Haas

Fairwood Alternative Elementary
Columbus, OH

Project Description:

“Cooking Group with Miss Hass” is Haas’ winning program in which special education students at Fairwood and Lincoln Park Elementary participate in a weekly cooking group focusing on vocabulary, grammar, following oral and written directions and critical thinking. As a Speech-Language Pathologist, Haas’ role is to provide language treatments for students with expressive, receptive and pragmatic language delays. Language is embedded in every facet of the educational curriculum, from math to social studies. All areas of communication – listening, speaking, reading and writing – can be affected by a language delay, impacting all areas of learning. Students begin each cooking class by collecting and categorizing all necessary items into groups. Haas then asks students a series of questions that encourage them to formulate grammatically correct sentences, using their new vocabulary to explain what they found. The objective is to introduce new vocabulary and healthy foods each week to expand student’s prior knowledge and language abilities and to establish healthy eating habits. The program also focuses on developing social skills, such as turn-taking and good manners. Haas, who resides in Gahanna, also hopes to educate parents about the importance of communication skills, critical thinking and healthy eating habits.