It is important for students to have a well-suited dining area where they can enjoy their meal and socialise with their peers. Unfortunately for many years schools have underrated the impact on students’ motivation that a school dining area gives. For most students and teachers, school dining areas produce a certain negative connotation.
Recently school dining menus have had an upgrade, and students are widely encouraged to try more foods and eat healthily. But dining is more than just food! Your students’ learning experience can be greatly enhanced by making sure that their eating spaces are inspirational and promoting interaction between peers and students. The dining spaces are crucial to the social development of your students.
To ensure that your school dining hall gives a relaxed and inspirational environment, there are a few factors that need to be taken into account:
A bright airy space helps to enhance the dining experience. Ideally, natural light is best for enhancing wellbeing, but if this isn’t a possibility, there are a lot of lighting systems on the market these days that can replicate the brightness of daylight to remarkable effect. Also students will feel less tired and will have less eyestrain if the lighting system is correct.
How does your school dining hall smell during lunch and break time? A lack of ventilation can lead to an accumulation of odours, which can make for an unpleasant dining experience. Being able to control the temperature also helps to keep the space comfortable when there are a lot of people using it.
Does your furniture suit its purpose? Is it the right size for those using it, and does it promote good manners and socialising? It is also important to allow for activities that the space is used for outside of lunch times, so it is wise to consider options like stackable chairs and folding tables.
Have you allowed for everyone that is going to be using the space? Long queues and congestion in dining spaces can be minimised through ingenious interior design. Table and chair configuration can be used to promote social interaction. Alternatively, if you would prefer a space that allows older students to work in an internet-café style atmosphere, then high benching and bar stools work well. The use of digital wallpaper or graphics can help to enthuse and inspire students at a minimal cost.
It is also important to encourage staff to dine with students. If staff are not happy spending some of their free time socializing with students, maybe it’s time to find out the reasons why? More than likely students will end up feeling the same way! Ensuring that the dining area is tidy, safe and a positive place to enjoy will help motivation, and student behaviour will improve not only on break but also whilst learning.
At Springfield, we offer a comprehensive design and planning service to help you and your children get the most out of your learning environment. For advice, recommendations and a free no obligation quote, give us a call on 0117 972 9320.