by Lower and Middle School Psychologist Trish Faro
One of my favorite parts of the day is lunch – not only because I enjoy The Pike School lunches, but also because I am fortunate to eat with groups of children each day. Children can come with three other friends, eat their lunch, and play games with me during this time. This program is open to every child from first grade through fifth grade.
When I first came to The Pike School, I was asked to run lunch groups for children who needed help making friends. This proved to be counterproductive because children who were not asked to come felt left out. The following year, I tried a new plan. I invited any second grader who wanted to have lunch with me to come. The response was overwhelming. They all wanted to come! And when that class graduated to third grade, they asked if they could still join me for lunch. Therefore, now I offer lunches for all children, first grade through fifth grade.
The games we play have topics ranging from how to express feelings of anger appropriately to how to handle worries. Some give tips on how to make friends, be assertive in positive ways, or respond to peer pressure. The board games are set up in a fun format and there is often much laughter coming from my room at lunch. I always facilitate the games and ask the questions, so as not to broach subjects that are too personal. In addition, I tell the children they do not have to answer a question – they can either pass or ask for another question.
Many positives have come out of these lunches. First of all, I now know most children in both the Lower and Middle Schools by name, and they know me as a person who listens and is interested in them as people. But also I get to see how very aware the children are of their own feelings and how empathetic and kind they are with their peers.
Please feel free to talk with me at any time about the lunch program, and join us, if you would like to do so. Remember, the lunch groups are for every child in Lower and Middle Schools. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-475-1197 x 6637.
The Pike School is an independent, coed, day school for Pre-K through ninth grade in Andover, Massachusetts. Visit pikeschool.org to learn more about Pike – and visit our blog for more thought leadership. To learn more about admission to The Pike School, visit our Admission page.