The Importance of Extending School Lunch Periods
Mary Jane is satisfied with everything about eighth grade except the lunch periods. In a nutshell, they’re too short. At 25 minutes in length, they don’t give her enough time to do everything she needs to do, and this includes unwind from a morning of academics, eat, socialize, learn the value of not wasting food, and prepare for an afternoon of more academics.
This Mary Jane is any kid of today's world. The lunch time is so short nowadays that it often do not fulfill the duty and purpose. At the shortest, the school lunch time is 15 minutes. Why so short? One of the primary reasons is to give more time to academics and thereby increase standardized test scores.
But these lunch periods are simply too abbreviated. All schools, should extend lunch to at least 35 minutes in length, says health practitioners.
Students are in classes all morning, they have little down time. Children need time to relax. This relaxation time should come at lunch. The midday meal should be a time to breathe, not simply to gulp down one’s food. The brain needs a few moments to slow down, to de-stress. Instead of calculating pre-algebra problems, school students need time to be kids, to tell jokes and stories about their life, to discuss the latest video games, to flirt with crushes. All of these activities promote coming down from a morning of hard academic work.
Most importantly, school lunch times should give students enough time to consume their lunches. If students don’t get the time they need to eat, they have no nutrition to go on during their afternoon classes. The brain needs energy to think, analyze and evaluate. And for some students, lunch is their main meal. If they’re not consuming this, they are basically going hungry all day.
Along with consuming a lunch comes utilizing basic manners. The lunch period at school should be a time for kids to practice etiquette: to chew with their mouths closed, to utilize a napkin, to eat slowly.
Furthermore, school lunch should be a time when a kid can make and keep friends. To do this, they need to socialize, to see and be seen.
The school lunch period should give students a little time to psych themselves up for the afternoon of more school work. They need to use the restroom, to get a drink and swish the food particles out of their mouths, to take a big breath and do it all over again.
Are students the only ones who will benefit from longer lunch periods? No. Teachers and administrators will benefit as well. Students who’ve eaten good lunches will be easier to teach and manage.