Creating an inclusive school dining environment

School dining rooms are a chance for children to recharge and gain invaluable social skills and experiences.

Creating an inclusive school dining environment

School dining rooms are a chance for children to recharge and gain invaluable social skills and experiences. Improving the pupils’ school dining environment will have a positive impact in helping keep students happy, calm and healthy. Whilst encouraging better behaviour. Students need to feel like they belong and creating an inclusive environment will help to do so.

What is a good dining experience?

Good use of music, colour, messages, images, information and well- planned seating can have a big effect on the sense of space in a dining room.

Pupils’ surroundings can have an impact on their sense of wellbeing. Changing the school dining area can help change the culture, ethos and understanding of healthy eating messages. Schools have found that focussing on their dining room is invaluable. There is no simple solution and no ‘one size fits all.’ Round tables may work for one school, while longer tables may be a solution in another. A successful dining space is all about good design.

Consider the Children’s Social Skills

It is of great importance that you have space for every pupil to sit and eat their meal at a table, to overcome any spacing issues, we advise introducing staggered lunch breaks. Making sure children sit down and really eat their food slowly and leisurely will ensure they feel more satisfied and feel fuller resulting in them feeling energised for lessons after lunch.

Children not only need to learn about maths, science and English they will need to learn social skills whilst at school, sitting with friends in the dining room can be hugely beneficial. It gives the pupils the chance to wind down away from the classroom and socialise over a meal, an opportunity which they may not always get at home. If the children are happily chatting to their friends they are more likely to eat healthier options sub consciously.

Children and young people will appreciate and be motivated by the right atmosphere and organisation in their dining space. To develop healthier eating habits pupils must respect and enjoy the environment they sit in.

Maximising Space

It is always a good idea, when making any changes impacting the students to use surveys and have discussions with parents to identify any problems their child has mentioned to them, that can be solved through a redesign of the dining area. Assessing the current dining room can help make it clear what needs to be done before implementing any changes. Making notes and taking pictures to record will help identify the issues. Combine your findings with views from the whole school community, including pupils, teachers, caterers and dining room supervisors.

Things to consider to really make use of the space are:

  • Pupils and staff need enough space to move freely around the dining room to comply with health and safety regulations. Most dining rooms are multi-purpose and sometimes aren’t big enough so, it is essential to consider the right furniture and take time to plan it, possibly with professional help.
  • Multi- purpose school furniture neaten be boring and bland with many colourful folding tables available. Consider the colours you choose; lime green, orange are considered to be ‘foodie’ colours meaning the maximum numbers can be achieved without comprising the aesthetic.
  • Zoning can help break down a big space, which can seem overwhelming to some children. A new approach to test out is to introduce quiet areas for one to one conversations or small groups. Zones have the flexibility to change over the course of the year to achieve a fresh look.

If you’re looking for brand new school supplies including chairs, tables, visual aids and outdoor equipment, look no further and get in touch with The Essex Group/Furniture Wise today on 0845 1700 222.

Category: News

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