When I ask students what their favorite subject is, I often hear “Lunch!”, it is almost as popular as gym. And that is understandable, it is a time to relax, be social, eat, and have some fun.
It can also be stressful time for some children. When we talk to the kids about friendships and bullying, the lunchroom can be a place where bad behavior surfaces, for the same reasons it can be fun – more chance for unstructured socialization.
To help lunchtime be a safe, happy, healthy and somewhat structured time, we do have simple rules that are non-negotiable. When you talk at home about lunch time, it would be helpful for you to know the rules and why they were created.
#1 Speak respectfully to each other, using an indoor voice. (helps reduce volume, and foster respect)
#2 Walking only, no running. (safety)
#3 Keep your hands and feet to yourself. (safety)
#4 Go right to your seat, or line up politely to get your lunch. (safety and order, up to 100 children can be coming and going in a short period of time)
#5 Raise you hand to leave the table. (safety and supervision)
#6 ONLY nut free foods are at the nut free table. (safety – no lunches from home are allowed at this table as we can guarantee their ingredients; school lunches are nut free, and students with allergies who bring nut free foods are allowed)
#7 Listen to the lunch monitors. (they are the adults and are in charge)
#8 Reports and ‘Double D’ behaviors to a monitor and your teacher, using your Open Circle skills. (Open Circle is our social-emotional learning program that supports children in the development of good social skills)
#9 Do not exclude others from you table or play time.
#10 Please recycle.
Everyone wants lunch to be safe, happy, and healthy. We have over 272 children moving through the lunchroom in less than two hours. In that time, our monitors do a great job of cleaning every table so the children sit at a sanitized spot, including the nut free table. They help children open containers, cut food, put on clothing, and they supervise children inside, outside, and if they need to go to the bathroom. This is a lot to handle, but they try to do is as kindly as possible.
When children move about unexpectedly, they will be asked to sit down or get into line with their peers. Often, children are under the impression that lunch monitors don’t have the authority to do this, and it is important to remind them that the rules are there for safety, not to spoil their fun. The lunch monitors have a most important job, they are keeping our children safe.