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www.mnnews.today/aurora-magazine Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
All profits from the meal
are used to suppor t families
from the school when and
if they need assistance, so
it’s a wonderful community
initiative as well.
“I was inspired by Stephanie
Alexa nder and Jamie Oliver,
both great advocates of the
impor tance of a healthy diet
for children’s optimum health.
We can’t expect children
to be at their best and
concentrate in class if they fill
up on lollies and flavoured
water during their breaks,”
Shayne says the enthusiasm
the children express about
what’s on the menu each
week is infectious and their manners are
impeccable. “ When they bring their plates
back to the kitchen after the meal they
always say thank you and something like,
‘That was the best one yet’”, laughs Shayne.
The Shared Table has brought the school
community together. Sam in Year 4 sums
it up, “I really love the way they cook
pumpkin. It tastes way better than at home.
I like to sit at the table and talk with my
mates.” Or as kindergartener Arianna puts
it, “I love it because they cook food like
pizza and it tastes yummy.”
Lee Sullivan is the Religious Education
Co-ordinator at St Joseph’s Primary
MAKING MEMORIES AT
A SHARED TABLE
St Joseph’s Primary School in Gloucester
has come up with a rather unusual twist to
the traditional school lunch. On Mondays
you won’t see any hot chips or lollies on
the menu in the school’s canteen. Instead,
students and staff pay five dollars to have
a three course meal, made from fresh,
wholesome and seasonal local produce,
prepared with love in the school kitchen.
The brainchild of parent, Shayne Gardiner,
the Monday lunch, known as ‘The Shared
Table’, sees students, staff and parents
sitting down together at a table laid with
gingham tablecloths and proper plates,
knives and forks. The day starts with a
serving of fresh fruits for the students’ fruit
break. For lunch they enjoy a hot meal
such as creamy spinach pasta, roast lamb
or homemade pizza. At recess the children
partake in a freshly baked muffin.
Shayne Gardiner says the response to this
initiative has exceeded all expectations .
“The kids’ enthusiasm is infectious. They are
so excited to sit together every Monday
and love trying new things at lunch. Sitting
together and sharing their meal at a table
brings an extraordinar y calmness,” explains
Shayne. It is important to note that all
children sit at the table regardless of if they
are buying the lunch or not. “The concept
has really united the children and they ver y
much look forward to Mondays,” Shayne
Every week a menu is emailed and
circulated amongs t the students and
their families. On Mondays six rostered
volunteers help prepare the meal in
the school’s kitchen, attached to the
hall. Shayne says these parents have built
a great friendship and have a lot of fun
preparing the meal. “ We talk and laugh
while we cook and then enjoy the delight
on the children’s faces as they enjoy things
they may not eat at home and sometimes
come back for seconds,” laughs Shayne .
One parent said her child who never ate
pumpkin at home is now enjoying it after
trying it at The Shared Table.
Since gaining the suppor t of the principal,
Bronw yn U nder wood, and the school’s
P & F Association in Term 1, the concept
has gained momentum. Shayne now finds
that each Monday most families in the
school are ordering the lunch for their
children. The meal is great value for money
and a time saver for families on Mondays.
Anthony Shultz, Joshua Howard, Jack Wamsley and
Ethan Clarke-Johnston enjoy sharing a table.
Have you considered opening an account
with the Catholic Development Fund?
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