New Haven schools launch learning labs during lunch

Labs feature health classes and cooking demonstrations.

March 25—Why let learning stop at lunch time? New Haven is transforming six of its elementary school cafeterias into learning labs, part of the district's Health for Achievement program.

The learning labs all will have a theme. The theme at Nathan Hale School, "Nathan's Galley," chosen by the kids features a mural, menu screens, nutrition info monitors, and interaction, all in a day's lunch. The lab features learning carts, cooking demos and other fun activities like game shows.

"Around the country we've shown that transformations like this, with themed sort of cafeterias at the middle school and high school levels, have shown real changes in behavior in terms of kid culture, supportive behavior of trying new things," said Sue Peters, of The Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (C.A.R.E.). 

It's hoped all six cafeteria learning labs will be ready by fall. Next up, a jungle at the Jepson School.