Lunch rooms across the country

Many schools
and school
boards have
found success
with a variety of
lunch scenarios
including
nutrition breaks,
using older
students as
monitors, paid
lunch programs
and even
classical music!

Surrey, B.C.

Elementary students on the
whole eat in their classrooms
including at large inner-city
schools where upwards of 27
children in one class alone may
stay for lunch.

Elwick Community
School, Winnipeg

Families who live within walking
distance of Elwick Community
School, part of Manitoba’s River
East Transcona School District in
Winnipeg, are required to pay
$1 per day for each day a student
stays at school for lunch (students
who are bused in are exempt).
Their lunch program, run by an
arms-length parent organization
that reports to both the parent
council and the principal, uses
these funds to pay for supervisors
who will oversee up to a maximum
of two classrooms.

Island View Public
School, Saint John. N.B.

The school’s hot lunch program
includes menu options such as
grilled chicken wraps, turkey
subs and lasagna. Teachers stay
in classrooms with the students
while they eat, and in the junior
wing, parent volunteers assist.
Each student is responsible for
cleaning up their lunch and placing
any garbage and recycling
in bins. Depending on the size
of the school, students in other
areas of the province, including
all 28 elementary schools in
Moncton, eat lunch either in their
classroom or at tables in school
cafeterias.


Halton and
Hamilton-Wentworth
school boards, Ontario

Schools have instituted the
Balanced Day which allows for
two nutrition/recess breaks
throughout the day. Among
other benefits, the program has
lessened the need to rely on paid
supervisors and crowded lunchrooms
and allowed students to
eat in classrooms.
Avon Matiland Board,
Ontario
In the more rural Avon Maitland
board, children typically eat at
their desks. Often Grade 7 and
8 lunchroom monitors help children
with tasks such as opening
milk cartons, which earns them
points and awards for taking on
this responsibility. Using student
lunch monitors has also helped
to cut down on staff supervision
requirements.

Port Williams
Elementary, N.S.

Group lunchroom eating was
eliminated years ago. “We
do not eat in the lunchroom
anymore, for probably the last
15 years, as it is not big enough
for the whole school to eat at
one time,” says Karen S., an
elementary school lunchroom
supervisor at the school. “It [was]
very noisy and we found that
students were not eating – they
were too concerned with what
was going on around them.”
Instead, lunchtime at Port Williams
and many other schools in
the province includes placemats
for students and dimmed lights
or soft music. Teachers report
that students eat much better in
this atmosphere and that they
are also able to monitor student
lunches “to make sure all of our
students have a lunch or enough
to eat.”


Tantallon Elementary,
N.S.

Most lower elementary school
students eat within their
classrooms in this school whose
population numbers close to
730 students and staff. The lunch
monitor ratios are the same as
teacher to student ratios, so one
monitor per class is acceptable.
Because kids tend to rush eating
their food so they can get outside
to play, here they let them
play first, and eat later.


Alison Rockwell is a writer and mother
of two elementary school-aged children
in Toronto. She looks forward
to the day her kids are old enough to
make their own lunch.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, August/September 2012.

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