SCHOOL dinners have taken on a whole new twist.
Two days a week until the end of term, year 6 pupils at Mount Pleasant School in Lockwood are in charge of the menu – cooking lunches for parents as part of a Cook-a-Meal project.
And the 10 and 11-year-olds – who will move up to high school in September – are learning about healthy eating and table manners while having lots of fun.
Mrs Rahat Hussain, learning mentor and community worker at the school, said: “We work in groups of six. Under supervision, they plan and prepare the meal from scratch and serve it to their guest – usually a parent or other family member. Afterwards, they wash up and clean the table.”
The meals incorporate food grown at the school, including lettuce, cabbages and tomatoes.
On the menu this week were onion bhajis with mint sauce and salad, chicken burger in a bun with spicy potato wedges, fresh coleslaw, Greek salad and garlic bread, with ice cream sundae for dessert.
Mrs Hussain said: “The project involves all 70 children in year 6. It is hard work for the staff, but it is for the benefit of the children and their families.
“It teaches them about etiquette, such as sitting at the table, waiting until everyone has been served before starting to eat and serving their guests first.
“When a lot of children are eating TV dinners, it also encourages them to eat more healthily. We encourage them to try food they don’t think they will like – and insist they eat up their salad before they get any pudding!”
Mrs Hussain said several schools had adopted the Cook-a-Meal project after seeing how it works at Mount Pleasant.
“The boys and girls have really enjoyed it,” she added. “We might even get some chefs as a result!”