Change your school by changing recess

By on May 21, 2013
Change your school by changing recess

When your kids think of school lunch, they might not be thinking of the food. Shocking, I know, but for most kids, the lunch bell means recess. The rush to the field, particularly in the younger grades is like watching the Indy 500. As a team, Choicelunch visits almost 300 schools every single day and I can tell you from experience, there is one increasing trend I see in both public and private schools that when in place, changes the whole school experience: recess before lunch.

There have been movements in districts across the country advocating for it and from my observations, I hope the teachers at my son’s new school will listen to me when I start promoting it in the Fall.

I’ll tell them:

  • Kids actually eat their whole lunch rather than just a few nibbles of their favorites
  • Kids are calmer and quieter in the lunch room because they have gotten their wiggles out and chatted with their friends
  • Because they have eaten more of the good balanced lunches, kids concentrate better and are sustained through the 3 pm bell
  • Trash bins are less full and there is less waste to haul to the landfill
  • Kids are more active ON the playground because those that have eaten their full lunch don’t get cramps or feel sick on the swings
  • Eating too fast at school just encourages the whole notion of ‘fast food,’ even if there is no McDonald’s to be found

Teachers and Administrators seem to be open to the idea, and there is ample evidence and help to encourage the practice. Of course, washing hands after play and before eating may have to be thought-through. But that’s just better in general!

So, what do you say? Will you chant with me, “Recess Before Lunch, please?”



Posted in Kids Nutrition
  • Donna McAnally Hall

    Our school moved to a split lunch/recess. Half the kids eat lunch while the other half play and then they swap. The benefits were HUGE! The number of reprimands and issues on the playground not only fell… they disappeared. That was totally unexpected. Kids have greater access to all the facilities and don’t have to wait as long to take turns at different games. The lunch tables are less crowded and kids don’t have as long to wait in line to pick up their Choicelunch provided lunch; therefore they have more time to eat. This last item was a growing issue and we often had kids staying at the lunch tables past dismissal for recess because they needed more time to finish their lunch.