Comfortable Cafeteria

Creating a Comfortable Cafeteria is one of several model programs developed as a part of the Every Moment Counts: Promoting Mental Throughout the Day initiative, which focuses on embedding strategies throughout the day to help all children and youth become mentally healthy in order to succeed in school, at home and in the community.

Time spent in the cafeteria is an important part of the school day for all students to enjoy their meal, take a break from classroom work and enjoy conversations with friends. When the cafeteria environment is pleasant, students eat more of their lunch, do better in their academic work, have fewer behavioral problems, and feel more connected to their school.

Program developed by: Louise Demirjian, MA, OTR/L, Fran Horvath, OTR/L and Susan Bazyk, PhD, OTR/L

The purpose of this 6-week program is to create a positive cafeteria environment by providing the cafeteria staff and students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources needed to sustain a comfortable cafeteria throughout the school year. Implementing this 6-week program provides the foundation for creating a positive cafeteria culture for all students with and without disabilities. Sustainability requires the commitment of school staff and students to re-visit and reinforce the weekly themes by embedding enjoyable activities (see Every Moment Counts Pinterest for ideas).

Use the resources provided in the tabs on the left to help you:

  • Learn about this program
  • Hear what staff and students say about it (video clips)
  • Learn how to implement the program – Just do it! Weekly Lesson Plans
  • Download power point presentations, bookmarks, posters, and other materials
  • Read about the research outcomes

Download and share a copy of the Comfortable Cafeteria Information Brief