The 30-minute lunch break at Webster Elementary in Minneapolis looks more like a family dinner than a traditional school lunch. There, students pass dishes like chicken and noodles around their tables, serve each other milk and reflect together on their day.
Gone is time spent waiting in lunch lines at Webster. Students no longer pick up their prepackaged lunches and take them to tables.
Instead, Webster’s lunchtime is an atmosphere that Principal Ginger Davis Kranz said instills life skills and a more relaxed, rather than rushed, environment.
“I wanted it to feel like a calm, enjoyable mealtime where kids could appreciate their food, appreciate good conversation and maybe even advance their learning through other types of conversations they might have — or also through jobs that they have,” Kranz said.
Kids scoop out their own servings before passing them around their tables. They’ll jump in to clean up spills. They talk with one another about food — remarking, for instance, that a dish was tasty.
The school moved to family-style lunches about a year ago, Kranz said. It is the only school in the Minneapolis Public Schools district to use the family-style lunch break, she said.