How School Meals Can Support Social-Emotional School Climates

School meals are most recognized as a critical source of nutrition for students, however school meals also offer students vital social support. Besides helping to ensure that students aren’t hungry throughout the school day, offering meals at school establishes routines and provides stability, both of which contribute to needs of safety and connection. Meal time also provides opportunities to help build relationships and trust among students and adults. The time spent eating together can also offer students teachable moments and life skills. There are opportunities during school meals to engage in formal social-emotional learning (SEL) practices; however, school mealtime practices themselves build SEL competencies.

This resource highlights how expanding participation in your school meals program can nourish students while simultaneously building social-emotional learning skills.