5th & 6th Lunch and Recess


Cassandra Bush, Journalist

We should combine lunch and recess into one period for 5th and 6th graders. The lower school at Welsh Valley has two separate periods for lunch and recess. You first drop off packed lunch into the cafeteria and then are dismissed to recess. After 20 minutes, we go back inside and eat lunch for 15 minutes. The problem is that some kids eat lunch very quickly and will be bored for the rest of lunch. Others are at the back of the lunch line and barely have 5 minutes to eat. This is because the lunch time includes cleaning up all of your trash and waiting to be dismissed. My solution is to have something similar to what the upper school has, but modified. We should be able to choose to go between outside and inside for the entire period, but have everyone go inside for the last 5 minutes to clean up. This lets kids have longer play times, or have longer to eat lunch. This would also let kids easily eat outside.

One reason this would be beneficial to the 5th and 6th graders is that it would give us more opportunities to exercise and play games. A lot of times, games can be cut short due to everyone having to rush inside in order to get a good place in the lunch line. People do this purely so they have ample time to eat. Sometimes, kids spend a fifth of their recess wasted waiting in the line so they have enough time to eat all of their food. If recess and lunch are combined, the lunch line will not only be spread out over the entire time kids are entering, but there will also be more time in general to play if everyone can control their own lunch time. This will also encourage variation in players – kids will end up swapping in and out as some go in and out of the cafeteria.

Another reason this would be useful for students is that it would let us savor lunch. When I eat my lunch, I usually need to rush in order to get done in time, and I don’t even have the added hindrance of waiting in the lunch line. If we implemented this combination, it would let us eat more slowly and fully enjoy what our parents or the wonderful school cooks have made. Kids would enjoy lunch more if they could relax and enjoy their pizza with their friends at a leisurely pace instead of talking in between quick bites. In addition, studies have shown that eating slowly improves digestion, and realizing you have 5 minutes to eat and scarfing down your burger as fast as you can does not make your stomach feel good.

 My final reason why we need to make a hybrid lunch and recess is that it would allow students to eat outside more often. In theory, we can sometimes eat outside, but I have never seen it happen. With this combination, we could let students eat outside whenever the weather is good, and this could make everyone happier. The benches and picnic tables are hardly ever used, even during recess, and this would give them new use. I really enjoy eating outside, and others likely feel the same, so this would make for a good option for us to have another chance for choice in middle school. Eating outside also gives us other places to sit. I, personally, don’t like sitting in the no backed plastic cafeteria seats. The option of being outside gives us the option of seats. You could go on a bench, the picnic tables, the stairs, or under a tree.

There are a few cons and complications with this idea. First, what about indoor recess? For indoor recess, a logical solution would be to keep it as it is, where everyone watches a movie in the auditorium for 5th graders and the cafeteria for 6th graders. For watching a movie in the auditorium, it wouldn’t have kids eating in there, but everyone could switch out as they wanted between the movie and lunch. Another kink in the system is that it would likely be harder to spread the recess and lunch aids out. This does not have an easy solution, but I would recommend possibly having some adults stay in one spot, while others migrated wherever the most students were.

To sum up my argument, I will restate my three main points. Firstly, having flexible lunch and recess would give us more time to play games and exercise. Secondly, it would allow us to savor our lunch and fully appreciate the food. Finally, it would allow students to eat outside more often and choose where they sit, giving us more choices. These are the reasons we should have flexible lunch and recess for the lower grades.

Works Cited

Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “SWOT.” NASA SWOT, https://swot.jpl.nasa.gov.

NASA. “5 Things to Know About How SWOT Will Look at the World’s Water – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” NASA Climate Change, 16 November 2022, https://climate.nasa.gov/news/3234/5-things-to-know-about-how-swot-will-look-at-the-worlds-water/.