Family DiningOur food is provided by Caterlink. If you would like your child to try this food, you will need to book them in on MCAS, and this will need to be done the Tuesday in advance for the following week, for example, it will need to be booked by Tuesday 10th September (midnight) for the week commencing 16th September.
See the below pdf file for the updated menu for this term:
As parents, educators and caregivers, we greatly impact what and how our children eat, from choosing to serve specific foods to overseeing portion sizes and encouraging children to explore new flavors. As role models, we can teach our kids to feed themselves in a healthy way. A surprisingly easy way to practice this skill at home or in school is by instilling an old approach to mealtime - family style dining.
During a family style meal, children and adults sit together at the table. Children are encouraged to serve themselves from communal bowls rather than receiving individual containers with compartmentalized foods.
The benefits of family style dining in school are vast. When children eat the same food as their peers, they are more likely to try new items and show excitement about the meal in front of them.
As we have seen through the meals we serve, family style eating encourages children to engage first hand with food and make choices independently. For young children, helping to set the table, gripping forks and scooping out of bowls is a great way to practice refining their motor skills.
How it works!
Staggered dinner times
There are three sittings - Reception, Sitting 1 and Sitting 2. Children do not leave the dinner hall until the time is up. Benefits of this are that children no longer rush their food so that they can get out to the playground and they eat more and appear to waste less.
Teaching staff are not required to take part in family dining however they are allowed to if they want. Instead teaching assistants help out at lunch, either helping in the hall or completing duty outside. In addition to this, at least one or two members of SLT are also in the dining hall, who also sit at a table and lead proceedings.
One of the worst parts of the old way of doing lunchtimes was the queuing up both out on the playground to bring children in and inside the hall whilst children waited to be served. Now, once tables are ready, children collect the food (which the kitchen staff have already put in containers onto deep trays along with serving implements), take it to their tables and serve each other - members of staff may aid with this although the aim is to have the children do as much as is possible. Once everyone is served children and adults begin eating together.
Lunchtime staff start getting the hall ready for lunch at 11.30am. To facilitate the quick turnaround between the hall being used for PE and the first lunchtime sitting we invested in new tables. The tables have a built-in bench, comfortably seat 12 people and fold in half in order to be stored much more compactly - we have given over a small office-sized room attached to the hall for storage purposes. Lunchtime staff also set up trolleys containing cutlery, crockery, jugs of water and a cleaning station. Once children have been greeted (usually as a whole group by the member of SLT on duty) the nominated children go and collect the things they will need to set the table from the trolleys; all children will then help to lay the table.
Children are also free to bring their own lunch in - these children are still involved in family dining in that they sit on the same tables as those having school food and they too take part in serving food and setting tables. They wait until all children are served their food before tucking in - part of family dining is that everyone eats together. On each table there is a mix of children who typically have packed lunches and school lunches.
Filling the time
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.