Schoolchildren in Leeds teach adults how to break the ice

Reece Tomkinson, five, from Middleton St Mary's Primary School.
Reece Tomkinson, five, from Middleton St Mary's Primary School.
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LOCAL schoolchildren have been teaching grown-ups a thing or two this week.

Pupils at Middleton St Mary’s Primary School are sharing their top tips on how to make friends in the run up to the Big Lunch on Sunday, June 1.

The annual get-together for neighbours sees communities get to know each other.

The youngsters were asked for their advice after recent research by the Lottery-funded initiative found that 70 per cent of people claim a simple conversation with a neighbour makes them feel more in touch with the rest of their community.

The top tips from Middleton St Mary’s Primary School include giving a hug and asking if they’re okay; telling a funny joke; sharing your sweets and helping them with their maths homework.

Sarah Ackroyd, higher level reaching assistant at the 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.”

Tim Smit, co-founder of The Big Lunch said: “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.”

He added: “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.

“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.”

For details or to organise a Big Lunch in your area, visit

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