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Bells and Breaks Trial

Many schools have changed the timing of their lunch break to provide a longer morning learning time. Some schools allow students to take a 'fruit break' mid morning and some schools have tipped the traditional lunch break up side down so that children play first and eat afterwards.

Recently a few parents highlighted some of the above arrangements that they've heard about in other schools and asked us to think about adopting some of these changes too.

The benefits we are seeking for our students are three fold. Firstly we are looking to reduce the number of niggles that occur at the end of lunch time. Secondly we expect that children will be better supported to build friendships when they all enter the playground together. Lastly we want to maximize the morning learning time which we often find is more productive.

Teachers have taken some time to consider some of the different ways that other schools organise the school day and have considered how various ways of organising the day could be advantageous to our students' learning.

We came up with two different trial options. Trial A will run for the first 3-4 weeks of Term 4, 2017. If we all (parents and students included) really love it, we may just run with it to the end of the year. We may decide to follow up Trail A with Trial B, or even go back to the Bells and Breaks times that we have now. You will be asked your opinions on our Bells and Breaks Trial mid way through next term. Keep in mind that it may take a bit of getting used to before we can really judge whether or not it is better for learning.

Trial B

8:55 Bell

9:00 - 11:00 Block 1

(10am fruit break 5min)

11:00 - 11:30 Morning Tea

11:30 - 12:45 Block 2

12:45 - 1:15 Playtime

1:15- 1:25 lunch inside

1:25- 3:00 Block 3

Trial A

8: 55 Bell

9:00- 11:00 Block 1

(10 am fruit break 5min)

11:00 - 11:30 Morning Tea

11:30- 12:45 Block 2

12:45- 12:55 lunch inside

12:55- 1:25 Playtime

1:25- 3:00 Block 3

You will note that the main difference between the two options is when we eat our lunch. Also, both of these options maintain the same amount of in class learning time as we have at present.

Here are some of the things we considered:

  1. Shorter Lunch Break: We know that the majority of playground problems arise in the second half of lunch. We wonder if this is because some children become bored with their games or can't sustain the types of self-managing behaviour required for the current 45 minutes of free play. Our Bells and Breaks Trial shortens the lunch break.
  2. Time for Eating: This varies considerably between children. Some love to linger over the yummy goodies (all healthy of course) in their lunch box while others just want to gobble and go. For some children this means that their friends head out into the playground without them and they don't know where to look for them. You can imagine that this can be a stressful situation for a 6 year old. For others it means that games are already underway by the time they join their friends and it's hard to find their own part in the game. This can cause some anxiety for children at any Year level. We are trialing a lunch eating time after play time so that children can enter to playground with their friends and not suffer the anxiety of not knowing where their friends are or not having someone to play with.
  3. Longer Morning Tea and Shorter Lunch: Albert Einstein said that, "Play is the highest form of research." There wont be any less play time available for our children to conduct their research, it will just be spread more evenly. Our teachers understand the benefits of plenty of active play and shortening up the lunch break enables us to lengthen the morning tea play break.
  4. Fruit Break: Many schools that have adopted a longer morning learning time, have also introduced a 'fruit break'. This is a 5 minute break to eat a piece of fruit or vegetable to power up the brain for more learning. Our teachers thought this was a great idea. While the morning may seem longer, keep in mind that there are 2 opportunities to eat prior to the end of play, "lunch" eating time. The three eating times (fruit break at 10am, morning tea at 11am, and lunch at 1.15pm) will, we think, be enough to keep little tums fueled for learning through the whole day. It may be that children will eat more at the 11am morning tea than they may currently do at their 10.35am morning tea.


Room 5 at morning tea time today.

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