ROXBURY, NJ - Nixon Elementary School recently launched a ‘Peaceful Cafeteria’ initiative.
A committee of teachers including Alyssa Bellardino, Jessica Carlin, Kurtis Start, Erik Swanson, Abigail Scales and and Kelly Blessing helped launch the program during their Peaceful Pep Rally.
According to the team, the rationale for this initiative came about from “parent and staff complaints that actions needed to be taken to ensure all students and staff were safe and respected during the three lunch periods at Nixon School. Before this initiative, no rules or regulations were posted and just common practices were taking place.”
The team of students and staff were excited to share with the peers a video that was made to help everyone understand what it takes to have a Peaceful Cafeteria including the Cafeteria Captain job.
Each student, from the youngest to the oldest, signed a pledge to follow the Husky Café Rules regarding behavior. The Kindergarten contract included walking into the cafeteria with pride, using soft voices at tables, walking in one line only, raising their hands for help, cleaning up their spots and putting their lunch bags in the bin.
The rules for grades 1-4 are similar but include a leadership role. Their contract states students will walk into the cafeteria with Nixon pride, use soft voices at tables, walk in a single line, raise their hands for assistance from teachers or Cafeteria Captains, clean up their spots when an adult tells them to, keep their areas clean and to put their lunch bags away at clean up time.
The leadership role comes in the form of Cafeteria Captains who pledge to be good role models for their class, promote good behavior through the use of compliments, be a responsible reporter if unsafe or hurtful behavior is occurring, assist their classmates if help is needed, help to make sure their class area is cleaned up and use Peaceful Café cups to help their class know if they are all using soft voices.
The ultimate goal of the Peaceful Cafeteria teamis to devise lunchroom procedures that will foster the atmosphere of respect embodied in the new rules. Some procedures will guide students in how to move around the cafeteria, eat and clean up. Others will make students more self-aware. All rules are now posted and contentiously practiced. The last five minutes of each lunch will be used to promote mindfulness. The lights will be shut off and classical music played with hopes children will take the time to sit back, relax and unwind.