Kia ora koutou,

It gives me great pleasure to inform you of a very exciting innovation Russell Street School is initiating at the beginning of Term 2.  We are going to call it operation “play first, eat second”.

In previous years we have noticed a number of issues including rubbish around school grounds, children walking around eating after they have been let go, children not eating enough during the day, some junior children missing out on social activity because they are slow eaters.

As always, we are continually seeking ways to improve the conditions for the learners at our school. Through investigation we discovered a “reversed lunch” idea. There is a growing body of evidence about the benefits of this.

Here at Russell Street, we know that despite our best efforts, lunch box rubbish still scatters across our grounds. As a parent I know the frustration of finding an uneaten lunch at the end of the school day. At the same time I remember the frustration as a kid of wanting to run off excess energy during break times only to discover that running around with a full tummy led to getting the stitch!

Here is a common list of benefits that schools who have made the change have discovered:

When play is before lunch, students:

  • are more inclusive with social interactions due to everyone being able to play at the same time
  • waste less food
  • consume more food and nutrients
  • behave better on the playground and in the classroom
  • eat at a more leisurely pace because the class atmosphere is more relaxed
  • are more ready to learn upon returning to the classroom immediately after lunch, so less instructional time is lost
  • perform better in the classroom because of increased nutrient intake and focused attention.

Therefore, we propose to trial this schedule during Term 2 and review it at the end of the term. During this process, we will be seeking feedback and feedforward from the children, teachers and you, the community.  

So what does this look like for us?

Current Timetable Trial Timetable
  • 8:55am – morning block starts
  • 10:00am – brainfood
  • 10:55am – eat morning tea
  • 11:05am – play.
  • 11:25am – middle block starts
  • 12:55pm – eat lunch
  • 1:05pm – play
  • 1:45pm – afternoon block starts
  • 3:00pm – school ends
  • 8:55am – morning block starts
  • 10:00am – brainfood
  • 10:55am – play
  • 11:15am – bell signals time to wash hands and enter classroom to eat morning tea.
  • 11:25am – middle block starts
  • 12:55pm – play
  • 1:35pm – bell signals time to wash hands and enter classroom to eat lunch.
  • 1:45pm – afternoon block starts
  • 3:00pm – school ends

Please email nic@russellst.school.nz if you have any questions.

Ngā mihi nui

Nic