What are we teaching kids by only giving them 20 minutes for lunch?

A letter to Kubla’s Principal

What are we teaching kids by only giving them 20 minutes for lunch

I sent this letter to the principal of Kubla’s school:

More often than not during pick-up, I see that Kubla hasn’t eaten most of his lunch.  I ask him why and he says there isn’t enough time, that they are rushed out to recess.  I’ve observed that several of the other kids don’t have time to finish their lunch either.

I hear some parents saying they need to teach their kids to eat faster.  That doesn’t seem a good solution to me—in our overweight society do we really want to force our kids to eat their food faster, so they lose touch with their bodies and overeat? No adult I know has only 20 minutes to eat lunch.

Is there a compelling pedagogical reason for a 20 minute lunch? Or is it because there isn’t enough space for everyone to eat lunch in the cafeteria during normal lunch hours? If the latter, might it make more sense for some grades to eat lunch in their classrooms or in the gym so that everyone could enjoy their food and the company of their peers that is central to enjoying life?

What is the school teaching children by scheduling only 20 minutes for lunch? Just 10 or 15 minutes more would allow all kids to enjoy their lunch without forcing bad eating habits, giving them the energy they need to pay attention and learn all afternoon.

No reply is necessary, unless you’d like to continue the conversation.  Can changes be made later in the year, or even next year?

The principal replied with perfunctory thanks for raising my concern.  No changes are in the cards.  I bring a healthy snack to pick each day.

How long do your kids get for lunch at school? What is the school teaching about eating habits?

In two weeks I’ll give a free Kidorable Umbrella to whoever makes my favorite comment and shares this post on the platform of their choice.


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