The news announcing that from September 2014 all children in Yr R,1 and 2 will receive free school meals has been met with mixed reaction. Personally, I think it is a good idea and I will explain why! There are children in the UK who don’t get fed breakfast, lunch and dinner for whatever reason that may be, it happens. There are families who don’t sit and eat meals together at a table, whether that is because they can’t afford a table or they work shifts, each family has their own reasons why they may struggle to eat together.
Offering free school meals at such an impressionable age does two very important things in my mind, it ensures that children can have a well balanced meal at least once a day and it also offers the chance for them to learn about eating together at a table – the social side of food. Like it or not, there are lessons to be learned from sitting at a table and eating with others. We live in an age where food is readily available, and we’ve all seen the “Love food hate waste” campaigns, and I think we have a duty to teach children about the importance of food – every aspect of it.
There is of course a political angle to this to, this is something the government is giving to families and it doesn’t require you to be on benefits or a low income, there is an interesting article here which discusses this more. As a mother of a family who sits within the old school “middle class” bracket, I have to tell you that money is tight, and we live on a strict budget (yet still struggle!). If these free meals do come into place, I will be delighted to accept them and keep the money we currently spend making up packed lunches towards heating out home or adding to our monthly food budget.
So what do you think? Will you be taking up the free school meals for infants from September 2014?