Lets improve our children's social interaction. Group lunch facing each other.

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As a former educator with over ten years of full-time teaching experience, I have never observed a lunchroom setting with such stringent sitting conditions. My sole concern is in the best interest of not just my child but every child.The cafeteria is a place to enjoy a meal and socialize with peers.  Lunch should be an enjoyable part of the school day for students, offering a break from classroom work and a place to relax, socialize, and become nourished.  Mealtimes in the cafeteria can also be used to promote healthy eating habits and encourage children to try new foods.  The cafeteria,  particularly in elementary schools, can be a great  place for children to learn much needed social and behavior skills. Learning these skills at an early age  can potentially help prevent more disruptive behaviors in the cafeteria in later grades.  Lunchtime is a naturally occurring, nonacademic time of day for social and emotional learning (Heyne, Wilkins, & Anderson, 2012).  Team collaboration is essential. Important to promoting and creating an environment that fosters the aforementioned atmosphere is how and where a child sits.  Currently students at Shawnee are seated side by side facing forward enabling them only to interact with students on either side of them while turning their backs to students seated behind them and staring at the backs of students seated in front of them.  It is a prohibitive and unnatural seating arrangement that needs to be addressed.  Children should socialize facing each other,  not sitting side by side.  What message are we sending  our children  when at home many of us gather around the table or in our living rooms facing and conversing with each other face to face   while at school they’re being taught to eat differently? Please join me in signing this petition to change the seating arrangement at Shawnee Elementary school so that our children may sit face to face and look each other in the eye as they talk, laugh, and enjoy each other company during their brief lunch period.