Working and training in schools and early years setttings nearly every day of the week, I see some dining halls that are calm and lovely and working well, but also many where children are not happy, staff are stressed, and all the systems are under straini. This is why I wrote “How to Create Calm Dining Halls” last year – which is proving to be a best seller. It is full of initiatives designed to help dining halls become calmer, and lunchtimes to become more happy and healthy.
One of my favourite initiatives, and one that works so beautifully when it is done well, is introducing a ‘Golden Table of the Week’. Children who are keeping the Dining Hall Rules can be invited to sit at the table to eat their lunch, and I encourage them to be able to choose someone to come to dine with them – it could be a friend, a teacher or even a parent or grandparent.
Another initiative is the ‘Golden Raffle Ticket’ system. This is linked to the ‘hands up’ method of getting everyone to quickly and simply stop talking when an announcement needs to be made or when noise levels have risen too much in the hall. Simply put, the supervisor who would like quiet puts their own hand up in the air and every other adult does the same thing. Each child needs to put their own hand up and no more talking is allowed. The special part of this is when the Midday Supervisor has a golden raffle ticket in their hand, and chooses someone who quickly stopped talking to give it to. The child can then take it back to their classroom where it feeds into their own class target system – like a marble in the jar – kerchink!
There is so much more that I could say about these and many other inititiaves and how well they work but I’m happy to say that it is all written in the book!
A few weeks ago it was so lovely to work at Northborough Primary School in Peterborough. We had a great training course with enthusiastic staff and the feedback was super. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to receive this letter of thanks from a dedicated, hard-working delegate from the school.
“Hi Jenny. I just wanted to drop you a note to say that we have been running your Golden ticket / table idea for the last two weeks, following on from the training you gave in Peterborough a few weeks ago. It has had a huge difference to the noise levels in the dinner hall and the children are loving trying to win a ticket, by being the first to notice me with my hand up for quiet, helping to tidy away and playing new games with different groups of children. Many Thanks for the fantastic course.”
Claire Belson, Northborough Primary School. May 2016
Website Editor’s Notes
1. See “How to Create Calm Dining Halls‘ – Jenny’s Dining Hall book has many initiatives, audits, photographs and ideas for the dining hall such as those mentioned in the article.
3. Jenny Mosley delivers keynote speeches, seminars and workshops at conferences and training events including headteachers’ conferences. For further information about Jenny’s work and availability please phone 01225 767157, email email@example.com or see our training section on the website.
4 . For all enquiries about Closure Days and Working in School Days for positive behaviour, social and emotional skills develoment, staff well-being, circle time and lunchtimes and playtimes in mainstream, special schools and early years settings – click here.
5. Jenny Mosley’s training, consultancy and conferences are for teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers, midday supervisors and everyone who works with children in schools and settings.
6. Jenny Mosley’s Golden Model and training promotes positive behaviour for learning, positive lunchtimes and playtimes, SEAL, SMSC, PSHE and British Values.