The cafeteria is an area that sometimes gets forgotten when looking at the overall school plan. But here at Momentous School, we made an intentional shift in the way our cafeteria works and it’s made a world of difference.
A few years ago, we had a very traditional school cafeteria where students sat at long rows and remained in their seats until their whole class was finished eating. We started to notice that some students were feeling left out, or were worried that people at the other end of the table were talking about them. They also would get restless having to remain in their seats for an extended period of time.
Now we have round tables. Students sit with a small group of peers and can make eye contact with each student at the table. Now the whole table is engaged in conversation and no one feels left out. We’ve noticed that students tell stories, make each other laugh, and genuinely enjoy the company of their friends at lunch.
After they finish eating, they’re not required to remain in their seats. We set out games, such as building blocks and board games. The students are allowed to get up, dispose of their lunch items, and head over to the game tables. This has them using their brains, interacting with peers, and physically moving around.
This is just another example of a small shift that can make a difference. What small changes have made a difference in your school? We would love to hear!