Friday, January 29, 2010

Kimberly Hatcher
English 122- B.Kern
January 29, 2010
“Play, Then Eat: Shift May Bring Gains at School”

This article, written by Tara Parker-Pope, suggests that a change in scheduling at schools where lunch and recess are concerned could be beneficial to children in several aspects. There have been pilot projects in New Jersey, Arizona and Montana that have proved successful in lowering food waste, reducing behavioral problems, and minimizing trips to the nurse's office. A few concerns did arise among those schools that participated. The schools had to install hand sanitizer stations in lunchrooms, and computerized lunch card systems. They also had some logistical concerns where bathroom trips, returning cold weather items, and retrieving lunch bags became more difficult to do before going to the cafeteria.

Since my children started attending school, I have found that lunch before recess is a thorn in a parent's side. My children, more often than not, come home with half eaten lunches and they are starving and grumpy. What child is going to want to eat when recess is being dangled in front of them? Not mine.

Tara Parker-Pope writes that, "Schools that have tried it report that when children play before lunch, there is less food waste and higher consumption of milk, fruit and vegetables. And some teachers say that there are fewer behavioral problems." The only glitch I can see in the plan that cannot be fixed with an open mind and patience that some kids living in urban areas may not receive breakfast on a typical day. A longer wait for lunch would seem inhumane where they are concerned. Dr. David Ludwig of Children's Hospital Boston commented that, “It’s a great idea, but first we've got to give them a decent breakfast."

I think that switching lunch after recess is a wonderful idea. Providing breakfast for kids at school in urban areas is also a helpful change. The change, although not easy at first, proves to be beneficial for students, teachers and parents. Schools should be doing whatever it takes to give children the most out of their education. That is the point, isn't it?


  1. Good post, this is very important to think about and make a change in. We send our kids off to school, hopefully well fed for the day and hope, or expect that they will be sent back home happy, well fed and better for the expierience that they had. I have four kids and know that this is not the way things are... They do come home with half eaten luch, grumpy and overwhelmed with homework; something has to change. I think that starting with the lunch/recess is a great idea and a good point to start. I do hope to hear about more studdies like this one and changes that follow...

  2. Maybe this is because I do not have children, but I believe that lunch before recess is a great idea. Being that childhood obesity is getting only worse in the USA, and just obesity in general, I think it is better for the kids to eat and then go play so that they run off the calories they just consumed. I understand that it is hard for children to wait for recess, but I believe that making them wait teaches them patience as well.