Some Elementary Schools Are Getting Rid of Lunch in Their Cafeterias

(Unrelated photo by Delaware Agriculture)

And they're holding lunch in classrooms instead. Students move, class by class, to the cafeteria, get their food, then come back to their home classrooms

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that some schools in Madison, Wisconsin have found that doing so reduces behavior problems and makes transitions between activities easier:

Students describe their noon meal now as calmer, quieter and less rushed. Teachers say the children are better behaved and they eat more. […]

Principal Beth Lehman said that while Hawthorne’s cafeteria was by no means a nightmare, aspects of it were not ideal.

“You had all these children crowded in there like sardines,” she said. “They were excited to see each other, so they’d be whooping it up and talking instead of eating.” […]

Huegel Principal Abby Potter-Davis said behavior problems during the lunch period have all but dried up, and teachers report much less food waste.

Hawthorne teacher Rosa Burdulis said she likes getting to spend time with her fifth-grade students during a non-academic portion of the school day, which has led to more “community-building opportunities.” Her 15 students created a playlist of songs they enjoy listening to while they eat.


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Maybe it's different in Canada but we didn't have a cafeteria and so we always ate in our classrooms. You could get milk from a canteen in the gym but otherwise you brought a lunch.
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In the city of Syracuse I never went to an elementary school that had a cafeteria from K-6th grade. We went home for lunch. Hated the cafeterias after that. As a retired school teacher (32 years in secondary public education) I think getting rid of cafeterias is a positive idea. I imagine it would reduce some problems. Probably the teacher's union would be against it, although it could eliminate lunch duty (aka minimum security detail).
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