Before I became a parent I was working for a company that manufactured electrical components and switchgear. One of the products that I used to look after was the custom designed lighting switch panels that are found in the administration blocks.
The switch panels had light switches for the school halls and auditoriums, administration blocks, sports fields, classrooms as well as the COLA. Now in the age where awareness programs such as the “traffic light” system (I have embedded the traffic light system chart at the bottom of this story) is in place to help public schools plan menus full of healthy, nutritious and affordable food and drinks, it surprised me back then to see the word COLA appear on school property.
So what is a COLA and why do they have them in schools across the country?
The acronym COLA stands for Covered Outdoor Learning Area. Not only does the word appear on the switch panels – which are safely hidden away out of the sight and reach of students of course – but signs showing students, teachers and visiting parents the way to the COLA are clearly visible.
A message came out from our school yesterday afternoon on the eve of the annual Easter Hat Parade that was held today (the last day before school holidays start) that in the event that it is raining or the fields are still wet due the the week long rain we’ve had, the parade will be held in the COLA.
So it got me thinking; if the school system wants to promote foods that are red lights on that “traffic light” system, what other areas of the school could be covered by this?
SUGAR – School’s Under(g)round Art Room
Natural light is not really a good thing when you are creating artwork (especially if you a developing prints from photographic negatives). But when you consider that most artwork will be hung in galleries that do not have natural light so that the paintings do not fade, it’s best to produce the artwork in similar conditions. That is why I am proposing all schools build underground art rooms.
GUM – Ground Under Maintenance
When the COLA or SUGAR are being built, you need to put up a GUM sign to advise everyone what’s going on and why you should stay away from the area.
SWEET – Student Writing Educational Enabled Table
This is a table that is designed to be used when children are learning to write. SWEETs are generally used in schools in the UK.
LOLLY – Little Outdoor Learning Lesson Yard
This is a small cordoned off area designed to be used by small groups of students to learn. In the photo below I have used a picture of teachers using this area for a meeting. Yes, it’s rather a versatile use of space. LOLLYs (commonly written as LOLLIES) are common in schools in Australia.
CANDY – Clean And Neatly Developed Yard
Many schools are turning dirty or otherwise unused areas into vegetable gardens or other useful areas. The CANDY is most commonly found in schools in the US.
ICE CREAM – Independent Classroom Educational Curriculum Readiness Environment (Alternative Method)
The ICE CREAM approach to learning is generally used by schools using Montessori education methods, or their own similar methodology.
CHIPS – Classroom Heating Independent Purifying Systems
In the photo I have used below it shows air-conditioning units which are fairly common in schools in Australia. A little unknown fact is that when these units are used for heating, they need independent purifying systems. Maybe I should go into business selling these.
Now as mentioned above, here is the “traffic light” system that shows the new standards in which all foods are supposed to be labelled as:
|GREEN category are encouraged. Schools should aim to fill their menus with these healthy foods.|
|AMBER foods should be selected carefully and eaten in moderation.|
|RED food and drinks are off the menu and will not be available in public schools.|