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Family style dining at Charles Kingsley's CE Primary School
At Charles Kingsley's CE Primary School the children eat their lunchtime meals in a relaxed, family style of dining. This is an approach of which we are very proud. Having conducted a great deal of active research and sought pre and post family feedback we are confident that our mealtime holds true to the values we live at Charles Kingsley’s School.
Setting the scene
The overhead projector displays a relaxing natural environment video scene and music from different genres is played each day to create a peaceful atmosphere. Alongside this we have an LED lit candle and healthy snack bar at each table which the children are responsible for lighting before we say Grace.
The way in which we dine reflects the following skills which we hope that the children will take into their wider daily lives.
The younger pupils can learn from the role model of the older pupils.
As one of our core values, we hope the approach will support children to listen to one another and share their thoughts. A statement of reflection will be discussed by each family as they eat to encourage social conversation.
By sitting to eat with the family group research says the connections within the family will grow. This is why we have the families with children from Year R to Year 6, not KS1 and KS2. We are a primary school and it is important children mix with all year groups. The lunch hour is split into two sittings with each starting with a lit LED candle and the saying of Grace to welcome each family together and give thanks to God for their meals.
Although the older children will act as “heads of house”, each person in the family can help with tasks such as preparing the table, getting the water jugs and cups, clearing away. The youngest children will be involved!
What do our stakeholders say?
Considering Pupil opinion, Senior Leadership and Governor monitoring we worked through some clear next steps and gained a strong view that the majority of pupils like the new lunch system and prefer it to the old. Below you will find some quotes from the pupil’s themselves.
“I love the lunchtimes now because I have made lots of new friends in my family. We can get to know each other and have a laugh.”
“I love being a leader and responsible as the head of the table and helping the younger ones open drinks etc.”
“It’s really cool that we get to sit with other year groups, on my table we have all gotten really close. You meet new friends and have more communication with people that we didn’t know before.”
“We get our lunch quicker and there are no more queues for lunch”
“We get snacks (vegetable sticks) before the main meal!”
“We take it in turns to go first”
“The behaviour is better, lunch used to be very loud and now it’s very quiet. There is less noise. It feels nicer and more peaceful and relaxing.”
“It’s lovely to listen to music and watch relaxing videos. It feels sociable and we get to chat”
“Lunch prayer is all together as a family, no more lunch prayer in class”