Little Kitchen Academy (LKA), the first-of-its-kind Montessori-inspired cooking academy for kids ages 3 through 18, is expanding its footprint and welcoming students to its third US location, LKA Denver, in March 2023. The Denver location is the first of twenty LKA locations coming to the state of Colorado in partnership with LKA Colorado Area Developers Scott & Christy Payne and Keith Lublin. LKA Denver is located at 4064 East 8th Place in the Denver 9+CO neighborhood.
LKA Denver provides local families with seasonal, year-round cooking class sessions organized by age group (ages 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, and 13+ years old). Students experience a three-hour class once a week during the school year or over five consecutive days during Summer, Winter, & Spring breaks. Students learn how to make healthy, delicious, and seasonal meals from scratch to consumption—all while experimenting with math and science concepts, working on their reading skills, and polishing up their table manners by sharing meals around the LKA community table (made with more than 33,000 recycled chopsticks). Sessions are limited to just 10 students and are overseen by three instructors. The curriculum focuses on seasonal, locally grown, and organic produce and ingredients, and students enjoy the fruits of their labor for a “scratch to consumption” experience at the end of each lesson. All students are welcome in this fully inclusive program, including those with learning or other disabilities. The program, which is nut, meat, poultry, and seafood free, also can accommodate those with gluten, dairy, or other allergies.
“We are delighted to bring Little Kitchen Academy to Denver,” said Scott Payne, LKA Colorado Area Developer in a statement. “We know how important teaching practical life skills to children is and how much of an impact we will have on families in the community. We are excited to welcome the first students into our kitchen!”
Payne and Lublin have experience in the child enrichment world and in teaching practical life skills to the next generation. Together, they are one of Goldfish Swim School’s (GSS) largest franchise owners, with seven locations open in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Colorado. In addition to partnering with Payne on owning and operating locations for both LKA and GSS, Lublin is the Vice President of Commercial Banking for Level One Bank.
LKA’s Montessori-inspired environment is designed to support the growth and development of each child. Instructors show the students how to safely use tools and prepare recipes but step back to closely observe the independent work, only stepping in when deemed appropriate. This approach enables students to learn at their own pace while they acquire practical life skills that foster independence, confidence, and socialization. LKA further empowers students to make better food choices, apply age-appropriate math and science skills in real-world settings, and embrace practices such as recycling and composting. The curriculum also introduces the concept of philanthropy to help children make socially conscious contributions to the world through its global philanthropic initiative, “How Can I Help.” This program empowers students to learn about giving back and making a difference by putting the choice in their hands to support one of three notable causes.
“Our tagline is ‘changing lives from scratch,’ and that’s truly what we get to do at LKA. Students participate in every step of the process from selecting their tools, measuring their ingredients, tasting and making adjustments to recipes as needed. We are so excited to introduce this purpose-driven concept to Denver-area families as we teach practical life skills and food literacy to children,” said LKA Denver Director Lindsay Joyce.