Let’s talk about smiling, does that go along
with being friendly? We’re training cafeteria staff on how to be
a role model, what it means to be a role model in the cafeteria. How do you talk to kids? How you get them to behave without pointing
your finger and yelling at them. What are some positive things that you can
do to make sure that kids have a positive experience at lunch. Hey Neighbor! Hey Neighbor! You having a good time? YES
(clapping) We just saw a need for a more peaceful environment
in the cafeteria. It was loud, it was often out of control,
there were lunch monitors that didn’t have the skill-set to manage kids and we saw them
very frustrated and we knew that bringing Playworks into the picture, their philosophy
of managing kids and treating them as partners and using other ways to get their attention
instead of pointing the finger or raising your voice; we knew that those skill sets
could improve the environment of the cafeteria. What happens when grown ups don’t talk to
each other? Well, kids miss out on big parts of their
food experience. And so, part of the training was this really
consorted effort to get adults on the same page, and make it so that they understood
that what they did had power. Kids are in school all day, they’re sitting,
they’re waiting to get the wiggles out. So, I think one of the key pieces would be
to allow them to be social, also giving them the opportunity to choose what they want to
eat, who they want to eat with and also a smile from the adults. What we’re trying to do is give people who
are out at lunch and recess the skills to help students be positive, to have a positive
experience at lunch or at recess. So lots of the skills are very similar in
terms of developing systems around lunch, how to talk to students at lunch, what kinds
of language to use, how important their job is, because a lot of times they don’t get
recognized as being important people in the school. I think it’s something that’s good for me
to work on, especially in groups today and being able to learn different redirectional
things. Instead of yelling at them across the lunch
room and telling the kids to sit down, it’s good to go up to them and give them more face-to-face
time so they won’t feel so threatened and/or won’t feel so uncomfortable with me as staff
in the lunch room. Hey Neighbor! I work in the school cafeteria because I’ve
been a chef for over 25 years. And I just feel that it’s my way of giving
back to the kids. Basically, just provide the children with
the best meals possible, most pleasant experiences and just being helpful and doing my part. It teaches us how to interact with our kids. How to be a good role model, and shows them
how to behave with each other, how to eat quietly while having fun, enjoying the food
and still being able to do the things that kids do like talking to their friends, and
grownups alike. So really it has ended up being a way to educate
the whole child throughout the school day. That food services and lunch monitors really
are an integral part of how we get to teach kids every day. Not just because kids can’t learn on an empty
stomach but because the people who work in food services and as lunch monitors are great
ambassadors for healthy living and they really have been taking it seriously and communicating
to our kids that this is accessible to you, you can do it, and I’m proud of you for doing it.