Restructured break times

Updated: Oct 16, 2020


At Island Bay School we have noticed:

  • Children throwing away food, often untouched

  • Anecdotal comments from parents about children not eating their lunch and being hungry at school pick up

  • Friendship problems occurring in the second half of lunchtime

  • Greater number of medical room incidents in the latter half of lunch time

  • Tired children in the afternoon




Food, and particularly nutritious food, enhances our ability to think and to act. With our traditional timetable, children generally eat and feed their bodies with energy that is then used up while playing. By the time they return to their learning environments to begin learning programmes, children are hot from running around and often seem tired after using up their energy and ‘fuel’ when playing.


Changing the order to playing first and then eating has shown in international studies to improve children’s ability to pay attention in classrooms. With the ‘play’ first, children eat more, drink more and have improved readiness to learn. They are not so inclined to rush their food to get out to play and are calm when eating after playing. By having the learning immediately following eating, they are more attentive, calm and ready to learn.


Children will be supervised to eat at 11.20 am and 1.40 pm. Children can still eat during the ‘play’ time if they are hungry.


Children will be given an opportunity to eat a healthy snack (brainfood) during the first block (between 9.00 and 11 am) as it is a long time for some children who have had breakfast early in the morning to last until 11.00 am. Each learning environment will schedule this ‘healthy brain snack’ break to ensure children have the opportunity to eat something. Each hub will have their own way of addressing the different needs of their children.




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