Holistic Nutrition

Health promotion and prevention work, above all through healthy nutrition, are the goals that the all-day primary school Franzosenkoppel has set itself. In addition to a breakfast time anchored in the timetable, in which the children eat the breakfast they brought from home together and in which sweetened drinks and sweets are forbidden, the school attaches particular importance to a full-fledged lunch with the participation of the pupils.

For reasons of space and personnel, the main courses in the French School cannot be prepared in the school. For this reason, a caterer who specialises in catering for primary school children supplies the hot meals, which are varied and healthy and are largely made from organically controlled food. In the cafeteria called “Kinder-Café” there is a pleasant atmosphere.

Participation in lunch is voluntary, and on Mondays and Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays – when obligatory afternoon classes are held – is attended by half of the students, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays by 65 percent, and on Fridays by 30 percent of the students.

All pupils take part in the so-called “children’s cooking weeks”. Every day between 11.00 and 12.00, five to six children in a class support the kitchen team for one week each, preparing the varied and varied starter buffet and, in some cases, the desserts under the guidance of the kitchen staff, which challenge the children to try out with appealing presentations and choices. During the cooking weeks, the pupils learn about products, ingredients and preparation and their significance for healthy nutrition as well as seasonal fruit and vegetable varieties from the region. They test and distinguish, for example, smell and taste and learn how to season with fresh and dried herbs from the school’s own herb spiral. You will also learn how to use kitchen utensils. Just like the kitchen team, the children are also dressed in “work clothes” (latex gloves, hat, apron) according to the hygiene requirements and learn how to comply with hygiene regulations. The kitchen team serves as a role model when cutting and assembling fruit and vegetables according to colours, shapes and flavours. The children let themselves be inspired, but also implement their own design wishes and advise each other in the process. They often try certain types of fruit or vegetables for the first time and notice that what they did not want to taste until now tastes delicious. Afterwards they arrange the prepared meals in an attractive way, because the eye eats with them. The children then serve the food to the “guests” at the appetizer buffet.

The school staff eat together with the children. Their participation is anchored in the supervision plan. This enables them to supervise washing their hands before eating and to pay attention to appropriate manners, the clearing of the food together and the volume.

In their inclination courses, the children can continue with the handling of food in the afternoon and take part in various cooking courses such as “Küchenprofi – selber kochen” (“Kitchen professional – cook yourself”). A “Franzosenkoppel-Kochbuch” (“French cookery paddock book”) has already been created with the collaboration of the children of the writing workshop.

Instead of a Christmas bazaar, the Hamburg primary school offers a cookie market every two years. Each class chooses a biscuit recipe and bakes large quantities of biscuits together in the school kitchen. The children then sell these cookies at a festively decorated stand in the gym. The recipes can then be bought as a book, bound and packaged by the children.

In addition to the common and healthy breakfast and lunch, the cooking weeks, the children’s café, the French cooking book, the cookery market and the working group “Küchenprofi – selber kochen”, the participation of all classes in nutrition projects once a year is another element of the comprehensive nutrition concept of the all-day primary school. These projects have covered topics such as “healthy drinking”, “varied breakfast”, “food pyramid” and “bread baking”.

Social tensions characterise the district in which the school is located. About two thirds of the pupils come from families with social welfare benefits. In many families, the children cannot take part in shopping and preparing meals. Stress-free and communal eating is also often not a matter of course.

With the redesign of the primary school Franzosenkoppel as an all-day school in 2005, the school was faced with the challenge of offering its pupils lunch. In the beginning, the demand for lunch was low and the school.

The aim of the comprehensive nutrition concept of the primary school Franzosenkoppel is to get to know foods and methods of preparation that are unknown to the pupils. The aim is to improve the children’s eating culture and nutritional awareness. The various elements of the concept also have the intention that the pupils transport their experiences home, apply them there and thus sensitise the parents to the possibilities of a healthy diet and its significance.

The primary school Franzosenkoppel recognises the success of the various measures of the nutrition concept above all in the increased number of food registrations and the cooking courses, which have now been extended to three afternoons. Many of the children who are not registered for lunch now ask their parents to be allowed to eat at school.

Since the pupils have been involved in the organisation of the lunch, they rarely criticise it and usually like to try food they don’t know. The extent to which their awareness of healthy eating has increased can be assessed if, for example, the children carefully season their salad dressings and critically season other dishes.

The children recognize and notice, for example, when a child often brings white bread instead of grey bread and share their healthy snacks with each other. The all-day school Franzosenkoppel finds the changed domestic shopping behaviour particularly striking due to the new experiences of the children. They explain to their parents what is undesirable at school, and parents often improve their behaviour, especially in the entrance classes. In addition, the shared breakfast time in class creates a sense of belonging (often read aloud) and at the same time reduces the amount of rubbish in the schoolyard. Food is not thrown away, but shared. The break from play thus becomes a pure break from movement, as the food does not have to be taken into the break. The atmosphere in the “children’s café” has also improved, which the school recognises above all in the increasing patience in the queue, the adoption of hygiene and behavioural rules, the desire to try new food and the friendly atmosphere when eating. In addition, the pupils attach great importance to ensuring that cooking times are not lost.

In an internal school evaluation in 2008, all pupils, parents and teachers were asked about eating. The results confirmed the path taken: Overall, the all-day school dares to assess that the children’s attitudes and knowledge of nutrition are much more enlightened than in the past. Coke bottles and chip bags have in any case disappeared from the school curriculum.

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