Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Lunchtimes should be social events

School lunchtimes should be a social event, not just a functional feeding opportunity, say children.

Jo Pike, a researcher at Hull University, asked primary pupils what they like and dislike about eating in school. She found their preferences have often been overshadowed by adult preoccupation with nutrition.

Few children referred to food when discussing their priorities. Instead, they spoke about the social elements. Many felt it was important to be dining with friends, as this created a sense of safety.

Most children also used meatime to decide which games to play in the playground later, or make after-school social arrangements.

Dining room displays of pupils' work help to give a sense of ownership of the eating space. Such displays should be changed regularly.

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