Improving the dining experience for students has been found to not only increase the uptake of school meals, but also to improve wellbeing and learning throughout the day. Many of our academies encourage an inclusive and equal dining experience at lunchtimes.
Have you considered family dining?
Family dining is a set up whereby young people not only learn to serve themselves food (particularly in Primary settings) but also learn to serve for others too. Having the opportunity to sit and eat at a dinner table, whilst serving for and cleaning up after your school family is a great opportunity for young people to build key life skills and character traits. Through family dining, our students are learning to be patient, kind, considerate and responsible citizens who are aware of the needs of those around them.
Another important part of family dining, and additional key skill students are able to practice, is that of making good conversation over lunch. Student lunch tables are often joined by staff and in some cases, we have the Community Lunch scheme where members of the community are invited to come for lunch with students, helping them develop speaking and listening skills. Adults play a special role in supporting students to develop conversation skills, and keep up to date with interesting and relevant topics by prompting the development of questions and answers on a range of subjects.
Finally, family dining is a great opportunity to mix tables of year groups together, helping to create a sense of cohesiveness and community within schools. It gives the older children the chance to lead by example, and the younger the opportunity to feel safe and make friends in what can seem to some like a daunting environment.
In a culture where dinner is often had in front of the television, why not give our young people the opportunity to sit and eat at a table, engaging as a family whilst developing and strengthening social skills? Why not family dine?