By Bushra Manna
Schools in developed countries typically provide free lunch for the students. This is an effort to recognize that how truly essential the school lunch is to a child’s diet. It is that one meal in a day that is really designed to support young people’s academic performance.
In some nations, great attention and care are directed to this provision. For example, in Japan’s primary and middle schools, only excellent nutritionists and kitchen workers are hired to prepare the meals. Thus, all school lunches are naturally balanced and delicious.
Young students love school lunch, especially those coming from struggling families whose only decent meal for the day is the one prepared in school. But this isn’t all there is to appreciate about school lunches. With the right feeding program, lunches provide a fantastic opportunity for learning as well.
According to trusted maths tutors in Dubai, food preparation and distribution for lunch can present fundamental mathematic lessons. Young children learn one-to-one correspondence as they are tasked to help with recipes or the distribution of lunch. Plus, as the young students’ knowledge increases, they learn to execute the more advanced mathematical principles typically used in cooking and determining nutritional value.
But perhaps, the best thing about school lunches being an opportunity to learn math is how enjoyable the lessons automatically become for the children.
Not Just Math
It’s not just math that students can learn from a school’s well-designed lunch program. Honing language and social skills can be covered by the program too, according to a top education center providing workshops to enhance maths and English skills for children.
When young students are tasked to serve their peers and reply to questions according to the instruction of their teachers, they are able to strengthen connections and develop confidence in using language to establish those connections.
Of course, children learn the value of nutrition as well, along with allergies and other health concerns related to food.
School lunches also provide the chance for young students to expand their knowledge of different types of general information/lessons that are actually valuable to life. These lessons include cleanliness, upholding high standards, traditions, manners (even in seemingly trivial tasks), equality, respect and appreciation.
Not All Schools Can Provide Lunches
This is the sad reality. In certain parts of the world, there’s just not enough funding for school lunches. Unlike Japan or the US that easily provide free lunches, public schools in poorer countries simply cannot purchase good quality ingredients for school lunches (if at all); nor can they hire experienced nutritionists and kitchen workers.
In most public schools in the Philippines, for example, class advisers are provided only a small budget for the feeding program for students. Apart from teaching, it’s their job to go to the public market (where ingredients are more affordable) and cook their students’ meal for recess, and bring the meals to school. It’s a flawed system in numerous ways, but it’ll do, for the time being, many say.
To somehow aid the situation, concerned citizens recommend growing community vegetable gardens to augment the limited budget for the ingredients. Likewise, many are volunteering to assist with the school-based feeding programs because they appreciate the fact that when school-based feeding began, the following benefits were observed:
- Improvement of children’s nutritional status
- Improvement of school attendance
Hopefully, this movement can inspire big changes (and lighten the load shouldered by teachers as well) so that school meals can become optimally beneficial for young students.
An important provision
There’s no discounting the fact that school lunches or meals play an important part in education. They present a wonderful opportunity to teach school lessons in a fun and non-traditional way.
Additionally, school lunches are the perfect setting for learning important lessons that are applicable in different aspects and stages of life.
Lastly, school lunches contribute to the overall school experience of young students – they are a source of joy and personal growth. Therefore, if they are provided according to a well-designed system that is rooted in the goal of ensuring that children gain advantages in life, the program will be a huge benefit not only to the children, but to society as well.
Bushra Manna is one of the founders and Principal of Leaps and Bounds Education Centre – Motorcity. She has 20 years experience teaching the British and American curricula internationally at primary level. Bushra has a passion for teaching and started her teaching career as an assistant teacher for 2 years, during which an autistic boy was appointed to her care within a mainstream classroom setting. Working with Ismail opened her eyes to the significance of knowing a child’s best learning style and having an individualized approach to teaching and building a child’s self confidence.
This website is open for guest posts. If you would like to share your ideas, feel free to contact me. Let’s make this a venue for collaboration! Thank you, Bushra, for sharing this article for everybody to read and learn.