To not want my child to have to eat outside in November?

(161 Posts)
Verycold Fri 30-Nov-12 22:32:57

Found out today that at my ds's junior school the children have repeatedly been made to eat their packed lunch outside, even after half term. They have a system where they only eat in classrooms if it's wet, otherwise they supposedly all eat in the hall and get called in bit by bit when there is room - or so we thought until it we found out otherwise today! Would this bother you? Not very comfortable to eat outside in the cold surely?

Sounds very Nordic.

It wouldn't bother me at all - but then we are quite "outdoorsy" (hate that term but it covers it). We camp/hike/geocache in winter - and all involve eating outside.

I'm of the opinion that as long as a person isn't physically cold (ie wearing appropriate clothing) and it isn't raining, eating outside in the fresh air is actually really nice.

OpheliaPayneAgain Fri 30-Nov-12 22:38:48

No issue here. Children don't melt.

Verycold Fri 30-Nov-12 22:38:49

Thinking about it, there might be children who like it and that's fine, but I think it should be optional when temperatures fall below a certain point.

Softlysoftly Fri 30-Nov-12 22:40:05

Oh Coola I love geocachibg, can't wait until both the DDs are old enough, you can't really geocache more out of the way places with a pushchair!

apostropheuse Fri 30-Nov-12 22:41:29

In our local school the children who have packed lunches eat in the dining hall with the children who are having school lunches.

I think that's much more civilised.

I certainly wouldn't want to eat out in the cold.

Mintyy Fri 30-Nov-12 22:41:39

No, I think I would prefer my children to be able to eat indoors in the winter. I would certainly choose to myself. School is not camp, or Scouts or any sort of endurance test afaik.

AChickenCalledKorma Fri 30-Nov-12 22:43:12

Mine would love it. They might also eat a bit quicker than they do in a crowded, noisy hall with lots of distraction.

Maybe not for infants, but if it's a junior school I can't really see the problem. Make sure they are properly dressed for being outdoors - but you are presumably doing that anyway.

honeytea Fri 30-Nov-12 22:43:52

Yabu. There is nothing wrong with eating outside. Has your dc said they are cold whilst eating?

If you are worried buy your DC a warmer coat.

emsyj Fri 30-Nov-12 22:45:29

I wouldn't want to sit outside in my coat and hat to eat and wouldn't want DD to have to either. If she chose to then fine (DH is quite hardy and she takes after him and happily plays in the garden/goes to the park in all weathers). I personally am the absolute opposite of 'outdoorsy' - given a choice, I would always rather be inside! Hate the sun (burn too easily) and hate the rain and cold too. Give me indoors and a comfy chair any day.

Chopchopbusybusy Fri 30-Nov-12 22:45:45

I wouldn't be happy about this. I wouldn't choose to sit outside to eat my packed lunch in November, so I wouldn't expect my children to.

MrsMelons Fri 30-Nov-12 22:47:00

I don't even like eating outside in the summer really so would hate it in the winter. I find it odd that the children would have to do this!

I wouldn't fancy it at the moment so therefore i wouldn't like it for my reception child. Do the staff eat theirs outside? No, i don't suppose they do.

Is this an attempt to have more children ask for school dinners = ££££££££

BRANdishingMistletoe Fri 30-Nov-12 22:53:12

Do they have picnic tables outside? I wouldn't mind my child eating outside so long as it's dry and above freezing, but I wouldn't be keen on them having to sit on the ground, on a wall or on anything that might be very cold like concrete benches.

Itsaboatjack Fri 30-Nov-12 22:53:17

No, I would not want to eat outside in this weather. Where do they sit, do they put tables outside for them?

racingheart Fri 30-Nov-12 22:53:20

DC now in Yr 6 who have to eat outside. the younger ones eat in. This is the first year they've had no colds, and they are zooming around in sub zero with barely a shirt on. I think it makes them hardy.

steppemum Fri 30-Nov-12 22:53:42

I think it depends a bit. If they are wraped up warm in coats etc and can sit down at picnic tables, then maybe. I encourage mine to get on with it and play outside etc, but it was very cold today and dd1 would have frozen anyway outside for lunch play, as she doesn't run round much, if she had had to eat outside too, she would have been miserable. Seems a bit off I think

juniper904 Fri 30-Nov-12 22:54:05

It was quite warm today, once the sun came out. Most kids in my class dump their coats as soon as they're out of the door.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Fri 30-Nov-12 22:56:49

It wouldn't bother me as long as it's not raining. I sit outside a lot though and have had either lunch or coffee outside most days since half term. I would think though, if your child minded they'd have been whinging to you about it!

How did you find out?

How reliable is the 'repeatedly'? [fgrin]

apostropheuse Fri 30-Nov-12 22:57:51

It may have been warm where you are Juniper, but it certainly wasn't warm here. The ground is frozen solid. Little Jacky Jack frost was biting toes today!

steppemum Fri 30-Nov-12 23:02:02

here I went shopping and came back at 12, it was freezing (literally still frost on grass). By school pick up it was wamer.

Nanny0gg Fri 30-Nov-12 23:05:46

Not all children will be in suitable clothing (no matter how much you ask) and it's not as if they're eating hot flasks of soup.

I would not like to do it and I don't think the children should.

juniper904 Fri 30-Nov-12 23:07:53

Half the boys are still wearing shorts. Madness. I was on duty this morning and I had 2 jumpers on as well as my wool coat, and two pairs of gloves. I feel the cold very easily has central heating on full right now and an electric heater melting the room

NamingOfParts Fri 30-Nov-12 23:08:40

I think the test is:

would the staff like to eat outside?

If the consensus of the staff is 'no' then the school has its answer.

Hulababy Fri 30-Nov-12 23:08:56

Our infant school has the children eating packed lunch outside still, unless it is wet. Even today when it was very cold.

The children don't seem to mind and they are all in, or should be in, appropriate coats, etc.

I have to admit that I did find it strange and as an adult I wouldn;t chose to eat outside at the moment - but the children genuinely don;t seem to be bothered.

We are a very outdoor type school though. We have outdoor play every day of the year regardless of rain, snow, etc. and we take the children outside for lesson time all year round too.

Hulababy Fri 30-Nov-12 23:10:35

It was about 2 degrees I think round here at lunch time - brr!

I don't do lunch times so no idea whether any children compain. They certainly don't in the classes I am in - and our children are definitely not the type to keep quiet if something is bugging them!

Notcontent Fri 30-Nov-12 23:11:03

Getting regular exercise and fresh air even when it's cold is good for your health.
Eating outside when it's cold is not particularly good for you and it's certainly not pleasant!! In fact it sounds a bit mad.
Eating outside is lovely when it's not cold.

juniper904 Fri 30-Nov-12 23:11:10

We have cold play, wet play etc. We once had fox play hmm after those twins were mauled by a fox. That was a little OTT.

ninah Fri 30-Nov-12 23:13:04

naming of parts I take it you don't work with children! I'm in a class where the outside area is open (in theory) all year round - the children love it, the adults take more persuading!

CaptainVonTrapp Fri 30-Nov-12 23:13:51

Personally wouldn't have wanted to eat outside today. It was very cold, too cold to be sitting down still. Quite different to running round the playground.

shockers Fri 30-Nov-12 23:15:47

I work in school. The heating is on full at the moment because of the cold snap, so I ate my lunch on a bench by the canal and I was healthier for it, I felt.

Schools aren't places of torture ( in my experience anyway!), today was glorious where we are and I chose to eat outside. The children didn't have that option, unfortunately, but they rushed out afterwards - as they always do!

shockers Fri 30-Nov-12 23:17:35

BTW, the canal was frozen... there were ducks skating grin.

FannyBazaar Fri 30-Nov-12 23:20:59

I wish my DS could eat outside. His school seems to have an unreasonable fear of cold, or rain or wind... Heating turned up full wack, not allowed out to play when it's wet then they suggest he shouldn't be wearing shorts.

Always eat outside was the rule when I was at school long ago and far away.

ravenAK Fri 30-Nov-12 23:27:19

The dining room will be highly unlikely to have enough seating for everyone, & classrooms shouldn't routinely be used for eating as they then stink of cheese'n'armpit crisps all afternoon.

Shouldn't be a problem if the kids are suitably equipped with coats etc. They won't be spending all lunch break lingering over their food, it'll be scoffed & then they'll be playing.

Much better for them to be outside than in a fuggy classroom.

NamingOfParts Fri 30-Nov-12 23:51:12

I think back to my DCs primary days (a few years ago now). Their school was in a fairly deprived area. For many the school was a safe haven. Making the children eat outside would just feel wrong.

CatchingMockingbirds Sat 01-Dec-12 00:05:55

I would have a problem with it, yes. At DS's school everyone all sits together, his previous school done the same too.

musicalendorphins Sat 01-Dec-12 07:55:08

Are they supervised? Not running around with food in their mouths?
I ask because a boy at ds's primary school was choking on some food, and the school custodian ran in and did the heimlich maneuver and saved him.

Fakebook Sat 01-Dec-12 08:28:47

No I wouldn't be happy. Unless they provided them all with hot chocolate.

I wouldn't think it's very pleasant eating outside at the moment. I wouldn't like it.

44SoStartingOver Sat 01-Dec-12 08:45:00

Fine as an option, not compulsory. They need a better system. And I am very ghung ho about outdoor play

YoHoHoAndABottleOfSherry Sat 01-Dec-12 08:47:40

I wouldn't be particularly happy about this if it was cold enough to need gloves and hats and scarves - difficult and messy to pick up food with gloves on, harder to get it in your mouth with a scarf in the way.
Plus you get much colder sitting still eating (on cold damp benches?) than you would running around.
I wouldn't mind so much on a cold but sunny day, but on a cold damp dreary day it just sounds utterly miserable.

seeker Sat 01-Dec-12 08:49:15

I would alwqys rather my child ate outside than in an airless, hot, noisy dining hall. They get little enough outside time in the school day anyway.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 08:49:57

If it´s the child´s choice, fine.

If not, not OK.

I assume that the adults aren´t forced to eat outside if they don´t want to & I don´t see why the children should be either.

I would also assume that the dining hall is big enough so that at some point every child can eat lunch-be it a "school dinner" or a packed lunch!

That´s what happened at our school, anyway-all lunches were eaten in the dining hall!

I think when we were in the 5th form (as it was then) we were possibly allowed to eat packed lunch in the classroom.

seeker Sat 01-Dec-12 08:53:29

It can't be the child's choice, though. Partly because it would be a supervisory nightmare, partly because of squabbles amongst the kids about where they were going to eat today.

I bet the teachers do not sit outside with their lunches on their laps. This is horrible and YANBU.

Even if they are dressed warm they will get cold sat still eating. Different when they are running around playing but I would not allow my daughter to sit outside in October/November eating her lunch. Very strange idea.

SetPhasersTaeMalkie Sat 01-Dec-12 08:56:19

I wouldn't want DS eating outside here just now either.

seeker Sat 01-Dec-12 09:13:57

Hmm- could that possibly be because the teachers are adults? Just possibly?

TeddyBare Sat 01-Dec-12 09:19:03

I think the staff eating outside is irrelevant. There aren't many staff, they're adults who don't make a mess with food / need supervision and they probably want a break from our little darlings during their lunch break.
If the school haven't got anywhere for the dc to eat then there isn't much of an option. If they ate in the classroom and then had to waste the first 15 mins of afternoon school on cleaning up then there would be complaints too. It's not going to do them any harm, in fact the fresh air is probably good for them and it's fairly common practice in Sweden which is much colder. If you're worried your dc are cold then send them in with a coat and hat. I really dislike the increasing avoidance of the outside in the UK. It's no wonder people are unhealthy and have no respect for the environment if they consider going outside to be a chore which should be avoided as far as possible.

SetPhasersTaeMalkie Sat 01-Dec-12 09:21:43

I don't sign up to the 'if the children are asked to do something, the teachers should be doing it to'. I don't get that train of thought at all.

However I still wouldn't want DS to be outside eating his lunch.
It's bloody freezing.

Hulababy Sat 01-Dec-12 09:24:19

At our school the teachers have nothing to do with lunch time. Not their decisions and they are not "on duty" so in many ways it is irrelevant. The children are supervised by other staff though who, when the children eat outside, are also sat or stood outside with them.

Our hall is not large enough for all the children. If the children are not outside they are in a classroom to eat. Not ideal but old Victorian buildings can't really be modified to allow all to fit in a school hall.

I was pretty shocked to see children still sat outside eating lunch last week, but tbh the children don't seem to think anything of it.

SetPhasersTaeMalkie Sat 01-Dec-12 09:27:22

Same as my DS's school Hula - teachers don't have any lunchtime duty unless they are doing clubs.
Could the school not do 'sittings', that's what lots of schools do?

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 09:29:07

"There aren't many staff, they're adults who don't make a mess with food / need supervision and they probably want a break from our little darlings during their lunch break. "

Hardly the fault of the kids though, is it?

Hulababy Sat 01-Dec-12 09:29:54

They already do for school dinners. Hall is also our main hall - so also used for assemblies, PE, singing, music, etc. so needs to cleaned and ready for use straight after lunch too. Hence use of classrooms for packed lunches, if not outside.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 09:34:13

I guess this is why here in Germany, school ends in time for kids to go home for lunch!

TeddyBare Sat 01-Dec-12 10:26:11

Diddl - I didn't say it was the dc's fault. Clearly the problem is with whoever decides the funding and has left a school without enough room to have everyone indoors eating lunch at the same time.
But if you want intelligent, professional, capable adults to spend their time looking after hoards of other people's children for not much money then you have to accept that you can't also expect to treat them like children. Of course if what you're aiming for is for the teaching profession to be full of people who didn't actually choose it but are stuck with it for the time being then treating teachers like dc is a step in the right direction. Part of the reason I chose to home school is because our local school has such a high staff turn over and the teachers seem so unhappy and dissatisfied. I don't think that's good for education but some parent's seem to want to encourage it.

shinyrobot Sat 01-Dec-12 10:26:46

At our local primary it is optional for children who have a packed lunch. They can eat outside as soon as the lunch bell goes or they can wait until it is their class's turn to go into the dining hall. There is a covered area ouside with seating so they can eat outside in light rain too, should they choose to. My DD always eats outside, my DS prefers to eat inside. DD says there are usually staff members eating outside too.

Children having a school lunch eat inside only.

My main concern would be that they had somewhere to be when they eat - are there tables and chairs outside, as there are in the dining hall?

Enigmosaurus Sat 01-Dec-12 10:41:54

At our school the children are called in class by class. Those eating packed lunches go in with those having dinners. Everyone gets to eat inside. I certainly wouldn't want to eat outside at the moment and I wouldn't be at all happy if my children were being made to.

It's not about whether the staff are supervising. It's about chucking children outside because they're children so have to lump it. The staff could choose to go outside and eat their lunch under a tree if they wished but I bet they don't.

But if it such a good idea to eat outside then the teachers would want to do it too. Perhpas not alongside the children. But I daresay the teachers would say that it is too cold and not very to eat outside in the winter. The same should apply to the children.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 11:28:26

"Clearly the problem is with whoever decides the funding and has left a school without enough room to have everyone indoors eating lunch at the same time."

Obviously-but it´s the children who "suffer"- for want of a better word- by having to eat outside whether they want to or not.

I don´t see why that´s acceptable just because they are primary school children.

redpanda13 Sat 01-Dec-12 11:50:20

My only worry about that would be DD would probably not eat her lunch. She loves being outdoors and is one of those children who strips off in all weathers.Once she is in that playground she is running about all over the place. I send her to school lunches as I found that she was regularly not eating her snack at playtime or packed lunches and that was supervised indoors! She just wanted out to play as quickly as possible. I doubt she is eating all her school lunches but I now dont see the evidence.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 12:02:28

I don´t object to kids eating outside even when it´s cold, btw.

It´s them having to as that´s where the supervision is/the dining hall isn´t big enough or sittings not organised well enough.

What would happen if more kids decided to have school lunch-would a way be found them of getting them all through the dining hall??

Rudolphstolemycarrots Sat 01-Dec-12 12:23:24

I think as long as they are wrapped up and then go off and play, I can't see the problem.

edam Sat 01-Dec-12 12:27:29

If it's cold enough to wear gloves, it's too cold to eat outside, given you need the use of your hands and you can't actually eat a sandwich while wearing gloves. If it's too cold for the staff to eat outside, it's too cold for the children. It has been really freezing recently and I certainly wouldn't eat outside.

Suspect this is about the school's convenience rather than about giving the children fresh air.

ivykaty44 Sat 01-Dec-12 12:40:11

Sounds much better than sitting in a stuff hall eating with lots of coughs and colds going around.

Far better to be outside in fresh air that isn't all stuffy and cold ridden.

The children play outside so why not eat outside and enjoy a dry day and cough and cold free atmosphere.

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Sat 01-Dec-12 12:47:51

A lot of primary schools I think struggle with this issue at the moment due to a lack of primary school places in many areas. LAs are coping by creating temporary classroom and encouraging schools to increase class size without actually doing anything to improve the infrastructure.

Viviennemary Sat 01-Dec-12 12:49:46

That is disgraceful. It's cruel.

seeker Sat 01-Dec-12 13:06:07

Oh, ffs!

ilovetermtime Sat 01-Dec-12 13:43:48

I see nothing wrong with children eating outside if it's dry. They don't feel the cold in the same way as us oldies, and anyway, I always had to eat outside when I was a child and it never did me any harm <wink>.

ilovetermtime Sat 01-Dec-12 13:44:43

I've got photos of my two in the sea in their pants in November as proof too!

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 01-Dec-12 14:34:27

How many of those complaining make their children go outside to play
or make them go to church on the weekend or do other activities that they do not want to do.

squeakytoy Sat 01-Dec-12 14:38:48

I cant see any problem with it. I was in town this morning and it was bitter cold, but there were people sat on benches eating things that they had bought from the various bakeries and sandwich shops.. I am assuming the children are allowed to wear their coats, so dont see how it does them any harm.

AndiMac Sat 01-Dec-12 14:51:18

I see a very big problem with it. My children are dressed appropriately for learning inside on schooldays. They probably are also okay for some running around outside for a while, as they do take their coats and scarves and whatever else to school when we walk there. They are not dressed for sitting outside for 30 minutes or longer.

I personally would be in there questioning the school about it.

NamingOfParts Sat 01-Dec-12 14:53:46


Woolly hat, woolly gloves, a woolly scarf and a yogurt - what could possibly go wrong?

Eat your lunch outside sat on a cold bench. Fine if you want to but horrid otherwise. Running around outside in the cold is fine, making children eat outside for the convenience of the adults sounds pretty dreadful.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 14:59:01

Cold day, cold food-won´t hurt them, but sounds pretty miserable-especially if everyday & they don´t really want to!

ICouldBeYou Sat 01-Dec-12 15:01:14

My 3yo spends 3 hours outside including snack time and story time, unless they are at risk of blowing away in a gale grin The nursery is an outdoor provision in a very exposed climate and he absolutely loves it! I would have absolutely no problem with my children eating outside as I know they wouldn't linger over their food and would be underway playing in no time.

AndiMac Sat 01-Dec-12 15:11:37

But ICouldBeYou, you obviously also dress your 3yo for outdoor play in the weather of the day. I don't send my kids to school wearing long thermals under their school uniform.

seeker Sat 01-Dec-12 17:44:05

"They are not dressed for sitting outside for 30 minutes or longer." Since when has it taken 30 minutes to eat a packed lunch?

Kalisi Sat 01-Dec-12 18:00:30

YADNBU, hell no! It's far too cold to be forced to sit still and eat outside. You should check that is absolutely true that is happening though, it sounds likely that some children may have just been bored of waiting for a space in the hall and then just chose to eat outside.

TeddyBare Sat 01-Dec-12 18:11:05

diddl - I don't really understand how the teachers also being outside would make the dc not "suffer". Also they're only going to suffer from the cold if they're not appropriately dressed.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 18:15:54

"Also they're only going to suffer from the cold if they're not appropriately dressed."

But properly dressed or not-why should they have to eat outside if they don´t want to?

If it was cold enough for gloves & I had to take them off to eat-that´ll be me cold & miserable anyway-even if I still had coat, scarf & hat on.

RooneyMara Sat 01-Dec-12 18:19:56

I don't want to be outside at all in this weather and I think it is a really rubbish thing to make small children do.

RooneyMara Sat 01-Dec-12 18:20:29

Seeker it takes my 5yo easily that long.

TeddyBare Sat 01-Dec-12 18:36:10

In a school, or in fact any other setting with lots of people, it is not always possible to accommodate what every individual wants to do. If there is nowhere big enough for all of the children to be inside and they make too much mess or can't be supervised in classrooms then they have to go outside because they have to be somewhere. It sounds a lot like the school are only doing this because they don't have much choice and have to make the most of a difficult situation. If the dc are dressed in appropriate clothing and have tables and chairs then they will be warm, dry and comfortable so there is no problem. If the parent's are not sending their dc in with appropriate clothing or food then that would be a problem but it wouldn't be the school's fault. The outside is not going to harm anyone no matter how precious they are and in fact it will probably do them some good to get some fresh air and spend a bit out time outside.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 18:38:16

"I don't really understand how the teachers also being outside would make the dc not "suffer"."

It wouldn´t-that´s the point-they get to choose where they eat!

AThingInYourLife Sat 01-Dec-12 18:39:27

It's too cold at the moment to be sitting down outdoors for the time it takes to eat a meal.

Do they even have tables to eat at?

RooneyMara Sat 01-Dec-12 18:39:32

Maybe no actual harm - but I find if I am outside in really cold weather, it makes my nose run, and my skin cold and my breathing more uncomfortable.

I would rather eat indoors in this weather, and I'm sure my little ones would too.

Putting them outside because they 'make too much mess' sounds like a bit of a crap reason to me, sorry.

Almostfifty Sat 01-Dec-12 18:46:38

Has no-one ever gone for a walk in the winter and had a picnic?

If they're wrapped up properly, then they'll be fine.

AThingInYourLife Sat 01-Dec-12 18:49:03

Has anyone been forced to go for a picnic every day in winter?

As a one off, it's fun.

To be turfed outdoors every day in the cold with your lunch, not fun at all.

TeddyBare Sat 01-Dec-12 18:50:56

Of course teachers get to decide where they eat! They're adults who the school is not legally obliged to supervise.
There would be uproar and a major breach of legislation, not to mention probably quite a lot of bullying and damage to classroom materials, if classes were left unsupervised in their classrooms over lunch. Providing enough dinner ladies to oversee everyone would be too expensive. If a whole class ate in their classroom then it would need to be cleaned before they could have classes in that would waste at least 10-15 minutes of teaching time per day which is needed to cover all of the curriculum and would probably get bad ofsted feedback. If the school hall isn't big enough for everyone and they don't have another room then they don't have another option.
Athinginyourlife it isn't too cold if you're dressed properly. I quite often spend most or all of my lunch break outside eating or reading, as do most of my colleagues. Our building is stuffy and there isn't a communal area inside so people go outside. I live near the coast so we don't get the coldest weather in the UK but it is windy here. You just have to dress appropriately.

TeddyBare Sat 01-Dec-12 18:52:49

Out of interest, people who think it's now too cold to go outside, what do you wear when you're outside?

honeytea Sat 01-Dec-12 18:52:59

Does anyone have a DC who has complained about eathing outside?

RooneyMara Sat 01-Dec-12 18:54:56

What an odd question. Normal clothes, plus coats, hats, gloves, scarf...but I still feel that it's cold and I still find it less comfortable than being indoors.

colditz Sat 01-Dec-12 18:58:31

If it takes a child 30 minutes to eat a packed lunch, he or she needs to hurry up and stop dawdling over it.


We are human beings, not tropical birds. outside is fine, sitting down for ten minutes to eat outside is fine, and faffing should be discouraged, not pandered to.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 18:59:42

OP-where do the kids who have school dinners eat?

Why can´t the kids with packed lunches eat there?

Why the differentiation?

TeddyBare Sat 01-Dec-12 18:59:45

It seems like a fairly obvious question seeing as you're too cold to go outside in the UK but much colder parts of the world manage to spend much more time outside. Do you wear a winter coat rather than a thin jacket? Is it waterproof and windproof? Suitable shoes? If it's very cold then snow trousers are also useful as are waterproof gloves and thermal layers under your normal clothes. The more layers you wear the warmer you'll be so if you think you're especially vulnerable to the cold you might find it helpful to wear a few more layers. confused

RooneyMara Sat 01-Dec-12 18:59:49

Oh right. I'll make sure to tell the teachers to stand over him constantly during lunch then. They'll really appreciate that especially when all the other 5yos take exactly as long as he does.

colditz Sat 01-Dec-12 19:01:21

I guarantee you it does not take the majority of five year olds half an hour to eat a sandwich and a banana.

RooneyMara Sat 01-Dec-12 19:01:29

that was to Colditz.

Teddy, I'm not entirely stupid! I wear a decent thick coat, in fact today I wore one with a fleece layer and then a waterproof layer on top (Regatta) and I wear proper (men's) boots and thick socks.

If I have to dress my child up in ski wear for them to eat outside as you seem to be suggesting, the school will probably object.

RooneyMara Sat 01-Dec-12 19:02:32

The majority of the 5yos I know don't just have a sandwich and a banana.

RooneyMara Sat 01-Dec-12 19:05:06

Sorry if I sound snippy. I am snippy and it isn't your fault.

TeddyBare Sat 01-Dec-12 19:06:24

Surely putting more clothes on the child is easier than building a whole new hall / cutting budget from something else to pay more dinner ladies and cleaners. If dc are too cold in the clothing they're currently wearing then the only logical solution is to send them in more appropriate clothes.

AThingInYourLife Sat 01-Dec-12 19:06:47

In DD1's school they eat in the classroom before going out to play.

Doesn't seem to cause any problem.

The "appropriate clothing" argument is bullshit.

I don't get to choose what my child wears to school. She wears the regulation uniform.

She has a warm coat, hat and scarf and gloves. She has a vest underneath.

That's all that's at my discretion.

I would wrap her warmer than that if I was taking her to eat one of her main meals of the day outdoors.

Luckily she goes to a school that doesn't think it's good for children to be forced to endure things most adults would not be prepared to suffer.

seeker Sat 01-Dec-12 19:30:16

Anybody would think it was the bloodynNorth Pole or something.

It's parents like your lot that meqntnitnwhenntshensaidnthe children aren't allowed to go out and play in the snow at school, or are made to staynin if it looks like rain. Be thankful your school has some sense, OP!

YANBU. Playing or having a snack outside = fine. Not having facilities to eat indoors doesn't sound very nice. Here in Sweden the kids eat their lunch indoors unless you've chosen to send your kids to an outdoor school ( not mainstream by any means )

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 19:35:26

How many on here who think it´s fine ate their school lunch outside?

RooneyMara Sat 01-Dec-12 19:35:45

Seeker would you really choose to eat your lunch outside every day?

If so - do you actually do it? And if not why not if it's so great?

colditz Sat 01-Dec-12 19:43:13

I did, and I think it's fine. I don't remember ever disliking it.

Almostfifty Sat 01-Dec-12 19:45:46

They're having lunch before they run around outside. I'm sure most of them are fine about it.

So long as they're not expected to eat outside when it's raining or blowing a hooley, I really can't see what the fuss is about.

RooneyMara Sat 01-Dec-12 19:49:03

I ate my lunch outside at secondary school because I was a social outcast and the classroom wasn't the nicest place.

It was cold and uncomfortable.

AThingInYourLife Sat 01-Dec-12 19:54:49

You can be in favour of children going out to play all winter long and still think they should be able to eat their lunch in shelter with tables to sit at.

NamingOfParts Sat 01-Dec-12 20:02:09

I mentioned upstream that the primary school my DCs went to was in a very deprived area. Some of the children there dont have one full set of uniform let alone good shoes and coat.

Maybe that is the parents' fault but it sure as hell isnt the children's.

If the school has a problem with space then it is up to the school management to find a solution. Children have always been messy eaters - a broom and some cloths will help with this. Teach them to clean up after themselves (this will never be a waste of time!). If there is space for the children to be taught inside then there is space for them to eat inside.

It is already for the hearty outdoorsy types to say they are happy eating outside - it isnt about them.

AndiMac Sat 01-Dec-12 20:11:12

If there's room for them inside on rainy days, there's room for them inside on cold days.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 20:21:30

I´m nearly 50 & "in my daygrin" at my school-school dinners were the norm for most.

Packed lunches were rare & girls who didn´t like school dinners tended to be thought of as a bit fussygrin

I have a feeling I remember when a table was put aside in the dining hall specifically for the packed lunchers!

Hulababy Sat 01-Dec-12 21:55:34

No idea what we'd do if all children had school dinners tbh. I guess they'd have to change the whole school day set up to have two different munch breaks for different years. It's an old Victorian building like many schools near here. We don't have enough room. Two classes are already in temporarily buildings, so temp they've been there years. There just is no way all children could sit and eat in the hall within the 1hr10min lunch break. Hence we used to use classrooms and still do if wet.

We do have picnic benches, normal benches and wooden seating structures outside which is where the children sit to eat.

As for the cold - not sure. We are still having to tell children daily that they need a coat on for playtime and done parents are still not sending children with coats.

But no so far there has been no complaints. Y1/2 packed lunches are eating outside, only started this year. The children seem to prefer it to sitting in a classroom. Reception all eat in the hall. I have no idea how far into the winter they plan to do it. Like I said its new here and I was surprised myself. Maybe if children and parents complain they won't do it??? I really don't know. The teachers and tas don't make the rules and usually don't do the lunch supervision either.

Hulababy Sat 01-Dec-12 21:58:08

I remember eating outside when in sixth form and maybe fifth form. That's through choice too as we'd go to the local shops and eat it walking back.

In first and middle school most stayed for dinner, rest went home for dinners.

NigellasGuest Sat 01-Dec-12 22:00:26

sounds like staff are being lazy - easier to clear up after children who have been eating outside

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 01-Dec-12 23:30:31

"sounds like staff are being lazy - easier to clear up after children who have been eating outside"

Spoken like someone who hasn't got a clue.

AndiMac Sun 02-Dec-12 00:03:52

Oh, and you do?

RooneyMara Sun 02-Dec-12 07:27:51

It was one of the possible reasons given in someone's post BBJ.

seeker Sun 02-Dec-12 07:57:49

"It is already for the hearty outdoorsy types to say they are happy eating outside - it isnt about them." But children are all outdoorsy types unless they have been programmed not to be!

RooneyMara Sun 02-Dec-12 08:05:11

Mine love to play outside but when it's really cold they come in within a few minutes. They hate wearing coats, it's almost impossible to make them wear coats, and they run around like made at school when I drop them off - but still, they do feel the cold and to sit still outside for half an hour or whatever would not be the same as running about.

Did you see my question yesterday Seeker? I'd be interested in your answer if you have a mo.

seeker Sun 02-Dec-12 08:15:32

If I had the choice between eating in a crowded, noisy school hall, or eating at the desk where I worked all the rest of the day so that my work place smelled like peperami or outside on a bench I would go for outside every time, unless it was actually raining.

And I find it hard to believe- and I have been present at many school
Lunch times that children take 30 minutes to eat their packed lunch! If they do, maybe they should be given easier things to eat.

RooneyMara Sun 02-Dec-12 08:18:30

Oh but we're not allowed to choose what they eat. And it isn't the difficulty of the food anyway.
It's the fact they talk and mess about and don't concentrate.

seeker Sun 02-Dec-12 08:26:49

Well, if they are talking and messing about they aren't descending into hypothermia then, are they?

RooneyMara Sun 02-Dec-12 08:43:09

Well no, but they eat inside so that's unlikely..

WileyRoadRunner Sun 02-Dec-12 08:50:00

I wouldn't want my child eating outside in November on a daily basis.

I would expect the school to have the correct facilities to accommodate the number of pupils.

Our school has a policy of no talking for 10mins which gets the food eaten and then plenty of time for talking/messing around

Kalisi Sun 02-Dec-12 08:50:22

Hmm the sale of picnic baskets appears to have dropped in the last few months. I do wonder why that is? hmm
School does not always have to be an endurance lesson. Children should definately be encouraged to play outside unless it's raining. But to actually have to eat their lunch outside every day? I certainly wouldn't be happy with that.

AThingInYourLife Sun 02-Dec-12 09:19:35


The MN battle against the human development of shelter is great.

Bring your baby to an unheated house when the weather is freezing!
Force toddlers to stand outdoors playing indoor games in November!
Eat a picnic lunch every day in winter if you are a child!

Our misguided ancestors may have sought refuge from the elements, but we will carry on the same behaviour all year around because it is the path of righteousness.


colditz Sun 02-Dec-12 09:42:00

It's ten minutes eating a sandwich, not Night On A Bare Mountain.

GhostShip Sun 02-Dec-12 10:01:26

I don't think they should have to eat outside. Would the teachers eat outside?

AThingInYourLife Sun 02-Dec-12 10:03:07

Yes, pointless discomfort is all our children deserve.

The spoilt, incorrectly programmed brats grin

Eat your sangwidges in the cold. It's all you deserve if your parents can't afford a hot dinner and you're not poor enough for free school meals.

GhostShip Sun 02-Dec-12 10:06:47

I actually agree with athing

Not sure why the people who can afford school dinners get the privilege of sitting down inside in the warmth.

Surely the kids should have a choice. If being outside for lunch is so great and all, they'd choose it wouldn't they, given the choice?

A lot of adults wouldn't do it! I wouldn't eat my lunch outside, it's freezing, it's icy, and I like eating without having to wear gloves hmm

SetPhasersTaeMalkie Sun 02-Dec-12 10:11:02

I just think it's weird. Why would you sit outside every day in winter and eat lunch?

I totally get the odd picnic and packed lunch when you are going for a walk but every day? Just bizarre.

The people who are saying it's not that cold and fine - do you do this at the weekend?

It's bloody freezing here today. I'm in the north of Scotland and DS has plenty of appropriate clothing. I would no more put him out into the cold to eat his lunch at the weekend than fly to the moon. It doesn't mean he doesn't play outside. He walks to and from school and plays sport in the cold every week.

seeker Sun 02-Dec-12 10:12:44

So. You have a packed lunch.

You can eat it at your desk, in the room you spend the rest of the day at. Leaving the room smelling of marmite sandwiches and the various soups mumsnetters insist that their children love, and covered in crumbs and yoghurt smears.

Or you can eat it in a crowded, noisy, jangly dining hall smelling of school cabbage, sitting opposite a child who insists on eating with his mouth open.

Or you can eat it outside on a bench. It's a bit chilly, but you're off and playing the minute you've finished.

I'm saying that outside is the most pleasant option! And I bet most children would agree. As would most adults, faced with those choices.

SetPhasersTaeMalkie Sun 02-Dec-12 10:17:49

Have just asked DS. He said no very definitely. I asked him why and he said ' because it's Baltic'.


AThingInYourLife Sun 02-Dec-12 10:19:27

All last winter this choice faced me every day.

I would eat either at my desk or at the table in the office with my colleagues.

Then I would go out for a walk.

Or if I was feeling too pregnant for more walking after my 2 mile morning walk, I would sit and read the newspaper.

GhostShip Sun 02-Dec-12 10:20:23

Seeker - for you maybe, not for some of us.

If you think most children would agree, why aren't they given the option then. Because surely if most children would agree they'd all go outside which is what the school seemingly wants.

Personally I prefer not freezing my ass off on a cold bench, with nowhere to put my things. And eating with gloves on is just bleurgh. I'm not precious, I'd do it a few time if I had to, but after working hard all day I do like to enjoy my breaktimes in warmth and comfort grin

Plus you're giving shitty situations. My school hall was lovely, comfortable and warm.

SetPhasersTaeMalkie Sun 02-Dec-12 10:21:10

DS also looked at me like I'd lost my mind. We are the indoor eating types here. You know, like most people are.

Kalisi Sun 02-Dec-12 10:29:03

I'd much rather be sitting in a warm,cosy school hall filled with the chattering of excitable children and smelling of roast potatoes and gravy facing my friends rather than freezing my ass off on a cold soggy bench trying to eat sandwiches without getting marmite all over my gloves occasionally having to duck to avoid a football
See how effective over exaggerated emotive language can be?

FivesAndNorks Sun 02-Dec-12 10:31:36

I'd rather my children ate inside. Eating a sandwich with gloves on is not fun and if I don't have gloves on I lose circulation in the tips of my fingers. Or do we all need to buy special sandwich eating gloves for our children.

Oh and I eat my lunch at my desk. Salad sandwiches don't actually smell.

ByTheWay1 Sun 02-Dec-12 10:49:04

At our school we have hall seating for 200 kids, and 450 kids to get through lunch....

We run a rolling lunchbreak - mixed hot dinners/packed lunches so the kids can sit with their friends -

all of KS1 come into the hall at start of lunch, then when there are around 30 spare places, we call in the next class from the playground - we get through them all in the hour - with ruthless efficiency smile

slow eaters (mainly reception - the others have learned to eat quicker or bring less) sit on the row we clean up last - since the hour also has to include cleaning the hall and putting away 24 tables , 40 benches and the mobile hot food serving unit ready for afternoon assembly or PE.

We midday supervisors feel like we have earned our £6.75 by the end of it! since we are also cleaning up as we go, watching for choking, clearing up various bodily fluids, doing first aid, chopping up hot dinners, opening 20 stick yoghurts, 12 babybels,

arghhhhh innocent smoothies - don't get me started on those.... <breathe>

2 mandarins from the bottom of the fruit bowl, 3 lunchboxes that the child can't open, finding a teaspoon for the teeny petit filous, watching kids in playground if it is our turn to go out, doing even more first aid, watching to see no one is being excluded, dealing with petty - but important to the kids - squabbles, making sure everyone has their coat on - doing up 26 zips, putting on 30 pairs of gloves (and in reverse when the cold air means they all need to go to the loo urgently) chasing the older ones out of the toilets - what is the fascination with chatting in the stinkiest room of the school, and getting them to line up after playtime.

Kalisi Sun 02-Dec-12 10:52:26

bytheway I salute you! grin

AThingInYourLife Sun 02-Dec-12 10:56:03


BoneyBackJefferson Sun 02-Dec-12 10:56:25

"It was one of the possible reasons given in someone's post BBJ."

I can only find two rferences to staff being lazy, one is nigella's post the second is my quote of nigella's post.

"Oh, and you do?"

I understand that the "lazy staff" are outside as well. I also understand the logistics of allowing children to choose whether they want to be inside or outside, which incidently would double the budget for lunchtime supervision as some children will want to be inside and some will want to be outside.

ByTheWay1 Sun 02-Dec-12 10:59:23

Kalisi thank you....

we could have it easier if the packed lunches ate outside - less tables to put up and down since only 20% have hot dinners at our school, less cleaning and more time to do it etc, but it is so cold outside right now they would be miserable, so we have to work around the lack of space and get on with it.....

RooneyMara Sun 02-Dec-12 12:28:25

'I can only find two rferences to staff being lazy, one is nigella's post the second is my quote of nigella's post. '

But that's not what I said...I said that the children making a mess was cited as a possible reason for keeping them outside.

'If there is nowhere big enough for all of the children to be inside and they make too much mess or can't be supervised in classrooms then they have to go outside because they have to be somewhere.'

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 02-Dec-12 12:33:39

RooneyMara you said
"It was one of the possible reasons given in someone's post BBJ."
As I posted about someones comment about staff being lazy, and you referenced me I took that as being what you ment.

I have not posted about children making a mess.

AlienRefluxLooksLikeSnow Sun 02-Dec-12 12:36:02

No, I wouldn't like my boy eating outside in this weather, especially packed lunch taht are cold. What if they have just had PE outdoors? then have to sit there, freezing, having not warmed up, I wouldn't be happy either.

RooneyMara Sun 02-Dec-12 12:37:25

Nigella said

'sounds like staff are being lazy - easier to clear up after children who have been eating outside '

You said 'spoken like someone who hasn't got a clue'

I said, it (the mess) was cited as a reason for them eating outside, which it was, by TeddyBare.

Hope that is clearer

TeddyBare Sun 02-Dec-12 12:43:09

ghostship this has already been dealt with, but you do realise that teachers are not children, right?! The school is not legally obliged to supervise them at all times, they can manage to eat without making a huge amount of mess, breaking things, injuring themselves / each other and it's their lunch break from work so their employer has less authority to dictate where they can go. So it doesn't really matter where they eat, inside or outside. You can probably guess why they might choose to be somewhere away from the children though.
If you want decent teachers you need to respect the profession . It's ridiculous to suggest that adults in a work place are the same as children in a school - that's not how legislation or logic work.

cashmere Sun 02-Dec-12 12:56:38

At my inland school the playing field was covered in scavenging seagulls. I've got a mental image of gulls swooping down to swipe at sandwiches ala 'The Birds'!
I only think it would be okay if they had an undercover area and appropriate seating. Maybe hot chocolate too!
It does seem a bit much though. Can you seriously imagine having to eat everyday with the wind blowing your hair in your mouth, nose running, eyes weeping, struggling to open packets with numb or gloved fingers, and I'm not sure it would be great for digestion if your body was focusing on staying warm.
Running around playing is absolutely fine though!

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 02-Dec-12 12:58:10


Don't you just love the netsmile A million ways to take something and you can guarantee that the wrong one is the one that is taken.

Got it now grin

RooneyMara Sun 02-Dec-12 12:59:36

Oh it usually happens when I post something, BBJ grin

NigellasGuest Sun 02-Dec-12 13:30:22

actually I do have a clue.
Have worked in various schools, including at lunchtimes.
Indoors and out.
Just saying.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 02-Dec-12 17:20:32

and yet you still call the staff lazy.

NigellasGuest Sun 02-Dec-12 17:45:22


GhostShip Sun 02-Dec-12 17:51:10

teddbare erm.. what is your point? I'm well aware that they're not children. But if they wouldn't like eating outside then why on earth would they expect the children to? Whats good for the goose is good for the gander and all that.
Oh here we go logic and leglisation, I'm well aware of the leglisation so please do sod off being patronising. But what on earth has that got to do with anything? Respect the proffession? Seriously, I'm laughing here. How am I not 'respecting the profession'?

Seriously if you're going to make a point, spit it out.

All I AM saying is that if an adult would find doing something distasteful, I find it rather ironic that they'd force the children to do said thing.

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