We all know that food, and particularly nutritious food, enhances our ability to think and to act. With our traditional timetable, children would eat and feed their bodies with energy that was used up while playing. By the time they returned to the class for learning, children were often felt tired and lethargic as they had used up their fuel when playing.
Changing the order to playing first and then eating has shown in international studies to improve children’s ability to pay attention in classrooms. With the ‘Play’ first, children eat more, drink more and have improved readiness to learn. They are not so inclined to rush their food to get out to play and are calm when eating after playing. By having the learning immediately following eating, they are more attentive, calm and ready to learn.
Children at Waitākiri eat their morning tea at 10.50am before they return to the studios to learn at 11.00am and then eat their lunch at 1.10pm before returning to their studios at 1.30pm.
Children are also having a healthy snack during the first block (between 9.00am and 10.40am) as it is a long time for some children who have had breakfast early in the morning to last until 10.50am. Each studio has a ‘healthy brain snack’ break at approximately 9.45am. Likewise in the afternoon children are encouraged to eat a piece of fruit or have a break about mid afternoon. Each studio has their own way of addressing the different needs of their children.