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Schools find timing of recess appears to make a difference

By Mary Richards | Posted - Feb. 2, 2010 at 5:02 a.m.



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SANDY -- More schools are finding out that the timing of recess and lunch makes a big difference to kids' nutrition and their performance in class.

Schools around the country are making a switch: first recess, then lunch, then class. East Sandy Elementary School Principal Bill Geist started it four years ago.

"We found that we really love it, and it's very beneficial to the kids," Geist says.

He says the children waste less food because they are not in a hurry to go play.

"They don't go from the serving line right the dump station to dump their food and go out to recess," Geist says. "There's nowhere to go, so they might as well eat lunch -- which they do at a much higher rate, and they are better off with a nutritional meal."

The students are also better prepared to start their lessons straight out of the cafeteria, instead of straight from recess, because they got the wiggles out.

"When they come off a playground, they are still wound up. They have to have a drink, and it takes five to 10 minutes longer to start the lessons," Geist says.

Geist says the downside to this schedule was that the cafeteria is a little bit noisier because all the kids are in there at once. Now, the school overlaps the grades by five minutes.

Geist says it also takes good staff and community support for the schedule to work.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

Mary Richards

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