This is not directly related to nutrition but it’s something that was brought to my attention last night, and I wanted to reflect.
While Ed was making dinner, three of our darling neighborhood kids knocked on the door. They were selling Nestle cookies and Sally Foster things for a school fundraiser – to raise money to take a science class field trip to Keystone for a couple of nights. I invited them in (don’t worry – we know them and their parents well) and spent $40 on things we do not want or need, and then just talked to them about school.
Apparently they have a new principal this year, and she has come up with some new rules that they don’t approve of. One of them is regarding lunch and recess time. They get 5 minutes for lunch, and 10 minutes of “organized play” for recess, and that’s it. They’re in 4th and 5th grade. Now, I realize they could be exaggerating on their allotted lunch time, but I trust these kids. They’re smart and wouldn’t lie.
One of the girls said that yesterday, by the time she got through the lunch line, the bell had rung for recess. She told her teacher “I need to eat my lunch” (good for her!), and her teacher said “You can bring it back up to the classroom”. They have a friend who is diabetic and needs to test her blood sugar levels before eating, and they said she never gets time to eat because the testing takes a few minutes, and then lunch is over.
I don’t have kids. And when I do, they will follow all of the rules at school, whether they – or I – like them or not. But, this rule would really upset me! Five minutes is NOT enough time for a child to eat a lunch. Kids should not be encouraged to rush through their meals, and they’ll learn better throughout the day if they’re allowed some social time with their friends while they eat. (I’m also not crazy about the “organized play” at recess, but I’ll stick to the lunches here).
For those of you with kids in school, do they also have rushed lunch periods? They must be starving by the time they get home! This is just another reason why breakfast should be emphasized as a very important meal, and you should send them out the door with protein (not sugar) in their bellies so they can make it through their day.
Anyway, this was just something I found really interesting. I’m totally siding with the neighborhood kids here – they deserve a longer lunch period! Even 15 minutes would be appropriate. I can't remember how much time I got to eat in elementary school, but I know it was enough time to eat and be social with my friends, then play a full game of kickball at recess. I never remember feeling rushed!