Swiss School Lunch Pails

Figure 1.--These Swiss children were photographed during the 1940s. I think this is after school as the lunch buckets seem empty. I'm not sure what was in the buckets. They seem a bit large for school. A reader tells us that the children are running to get their soup buckets filled for lunch, but I would have thought that the buckets were brought full to school. Hopefully a Swiss reader will tell us how this worked. They are warmly dressed with stocking caps and heavy wool long stockings.

We are not entirely sure when this phitograph was taken. It could be the children going to school in the morming or coming home in the afternoon. We tend to think they are going home, in part because they look so happy and even rushing. I doubt id they were so enthusiastiv in the moning. they are all together. In the morning they would have been more spread out. One reader thought they might be going to a central kitchen to get soup. But I don't think Swiss villages had central kitchens. I think the pails are for lunch. But I don't think they were simple pails. Rather I think they may have contained separate containers inside, one of which may have been for soup. Here I am not sure, but hopefully our Swiss readers will be able to provide some insights. One might have thought that in a village school that the children went home for lunch. Perhaps these children had further to walk.


A Canadian reader writes, "I remember having sent you a photo on which we see children talking around a village fountain like those we can see in Provence and also in Swizerland. It is clear in my mind that the main function of those fountains was to supply water for all the members of the community. Pagnol's film "Manon des sources" explains clearly how the fountain was the heart of the village. Without a fountain, the village is dead. Now, what are we looking on this picture of children running with empty containers as we can see with the girl with her upside down one ? Where are they running to ? The answer is the fountain. In every school with some social learning, we can see many social works done by pupils like cleaning the blackboard, shining the floor and so on. If the school has no water supply, the teacher will ask children to go to the fountain to fill up the containers. What is intended to do with this water when back to school is another question. Maybe for warming it for washing dishes as I did when a boyscout. Or, simply drinking it. For me, the Rousseauist theory of social learnig is examplified in this picture. The well-known Ecole Freinet which came from St-Paul-de- Vnce in France under the leadership of Célestin Freinet in the 20s expanded fastly in countries like France and Switzerland with Ferrière or in Belgium with Decroly. Anyway, this picture is a good example of a school open on social realities, not just on the three Rs."


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Created: 9:43 PM 7/2/2007
Last updated: 11:56 PM 7/2/2007