I am honoured to have received from many families regarding the Term One trial of Play/Eat/Learn.  Thank you for contacting me and please – continue to do so.  Our school constantly strives to improve.  All of us have the same goal – to create conditions that give every student the best opportunity to make progress and achieve to their potential.

The Admin Team has discussed feedback from educators, parents, front office staff and our gardeners. I wish to clarify opportunities to Eat and confirm Play/Eat/Learn times that apply at Tuart Hill Primary School.

Every class in the school observes Crunch and Sip.  Teachers choose a natural time to break curriculum activities to take a planned time to refuel brain with healthy food, and to ensure students are specifically encouraged to drink water. Crunch and Sip breaks occur around 10.15 am, is supervised and is part of our timetable.

All students in the school move out to PLAY at 11.10 am.

Kindergarten and pre-primary classes have a full 40 minutes outside.  All Kindergarten and all Pre-primary students return to class at 11.50 am and are supervised as they sit down to eat by class teachers for about 30 minutes. KPP students pack up under supervision and continue their learning activities.

Years One to Six transition to EAT at 11.30.  Duty Teachers supervise students returning sports equipment and sitting by their lunch boxes to EAT.

Duty Teachers move around the students, initiating eating, keeping good order and encouraging conversation.  Students are supervised to place rubbish in the bin, zip up lunch boxes, collect water bottles and return in an orderly fashion to classes at 11.50 am.

Afternoon Recess commences at 1.30 pm.  This is another opportunity for students to eat if they wish, and to play again.  Teachers remind student to eat, but students make their own choices at this break.  Parents may like to explain to their children that they are allowed to eat at afternoon recess.  Maybe some students do not think they can finish off their lunch – I’m not sure.  Students are supervised by Duty Teachers back to class at 1.50 pm.

Educators of our Years 1 – 6 students have found that Play then Eat result in students who are ready to learn. We find the need for movement following a period of in-class time is satisfied with Play first.

The 20 minutes allocated to Eat after Play encourages cool down, water intake, and conversation between friend groups while opening lunchboxes and eating. Duty teachers report much less wastage of food – observationally, fewer lunches are being ‘dumped’ in the bin. Duty Teachers are finding they can supervise lunch behaviour more effectively.

Several parents spoke to me regarding their child not finishing their lunch in the time allowed.  I personally observe another tranche of students who inhale their food in under ten minutes!  The 20-minute allocation seems to suit the majority, but not all – as predictable. If you are concerned that your child needs more than 20 minutes to eat, please chat to your child’s teacher.  We try our best to make individual adjustments for students who need them, and allowing an extra few minutes for lunch eating is very possible.

Perhaps you can also let your child know that Afternoon Recess is for eating too?  If you feel that not enough food is being eaten during school, let your child know that they can open the ‘lunch’ section as well as the ‘recess’ section in their lunch container. My anecdotal observation is that students use the afternoon break to run and play – but they can eat too.

I hope this notice has clarified the school’s decision to continue with the Play/Eat/Learn approach. Please stay in contact with your class teacher if you need, and – of course – I love a chat!

Kind regards.

Beverly Innes