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In Socialist Sweden we had Free and Obligatory lunches at school. It was part of the curriculum in the early grades, with enforcement of good manners.

Grades 1-3: Eat at your assigned seat place with good table manners, and the teacher at the head of the table. 20 minutes enforced sitting at the table, even if you finished earlier. (So that no one hurries their lunch to get the best swing at post lunch play time.) And do finish that food! No leaving the lunch room without finishing your plate! No food choices either. You ate what was served, at the prescribed portion size.

Grades 4-6: Again, assigned seating, but with two teachers supervising the whole room rather than one for each class. A little less surveillance means you can try to hide some of the uneaten food in the potted plants next to the tables. And get told off for the same. Again, 20 minutes before you can leave the lunch room. And some days you have to help wash the dishes.

Grades 7-9: Food lunch is served free of charge to all, but you no longer have to eat it. You may bring lunch, go home to eat, choose your own portion size, etc. No more assigned seating, no more enforced time in the lunch room. But by then, kids were no longer in a hurry to leave.

High School: Our town was cutting back on school lunch expenses, and lunch was only half paid for. Eat or not, where you want, you are on your own.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 11:39:30 AM EST

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