Middleton school children teach grown-ups how to make friends


In a bid to find out how grown-ups can break the ice with others, The Big Lunch has asked a group of local school children for their top tips on how to make friends.

Ella Boyes and Tyrese Wontchew from Middleton St Mary's Primary School
Ella Boyes and Tyrese Wontchew from Middleton St Mary’s Primary School

The Big Lunch visited Middleton St Mary’s Primary School in South Leeds to find out why initiating social interaction is second nature to children. The pupils were asked if they had any words of wisdom on how easy it can be to make friends that they could share with the people of Yorkshire.

Sarah Ackroyd, Higher Level Teaching Assistant Middleton St Mary’s Primary School, said: “As a grown-up, breaking the ice can sometimes feel like a really daunting challenge. Here at Middleton St Mary’s, we’ve seen how many of our pupils find it easy to take that first step to make friends, soon finding something in common with each other. When The Big Lunch asked if the schoolchildren would share their top tips, we were delighted to help.”

Sir Tim Smit KBE, Founding Director, Eden Project and co-Founder The Big Lunch adds, “This was a fun and interesting exercise for the children of Middleton St Mary’s to show how easy it can be for all of us to break the ice and learn the skills of small talk. The school children gave us some fantastic yet simple tips such as telling a brilliant joke, asking how they are or if they would like to skip with you.”

The five tips from Middleton St Mary’s Primary School include:

1. Give a hug and ask if they’re okay

2. Tell a really funny joke

3. Share your sweets

4. Ask if they would like to play with you

5. Help with their maths homework

Sir Tim Smit KBE adds: “The significance of small talk shouldn’t be underestimated. It might seem trivial but it can have a powerful impact on people. Small talk might not always come easily and can be awkward to initiate, but taking the time to start conversation can lead to big things.

“Small talk is in fact ‘big talk’ – it’s the code or tool which enables us to overcome our shyness. This is where The Big Lunch comes in – it’s the ice-breaker that is needed to convert strangers into possible friends or acquaintances.

“Feedback from previous years has shown that almost everyone who takes part in a Big Lunch feels closer to their neighbours as a result, with two thirds going on to hold other events in their community afterwards proving it is not just about one day it’s about what happens before and after the event.”

TBL - Middleton St Mary's - Small_ Talk - all children

The small talk that happens in communities is a lifeline for many and The Big Lunch is calling on everyone in the UK to boost the conversations happening in streets and gardens nationwide. Chatty neighbours are being encouraged to host a Big Lunch event in their communities on Sunday 1 June to spread small talk further and build community bonds.

The Big Lunch – made possible by the Big Lottery Fund – is expecting millions of people to take part on Sunday 1 June 2014. For more information about holding a Big Lunch, request a free pack online at www.thebiglunch.com. Packs contain invitations and posters to adapt for your community, as well as seeds, a bunting template and an inspiration booklet with lots of ideas and info to help get you started.