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Playing Up an Appetite

When given the option to eat lunch or go outside and play, most kids opt for the latter choice. So it’s no surprise that, in schools that offer recess after lunch, kids often rush through their meal in order to head outdoors and play with friends. But studies show that students benefit greatly from a reverse schedule—offering recess prior to lunchtime. But how prevalent is this scenario in North Texas schools? And are schools considering this change in the future?

One area school district already employs similar scheduling. Plano ISD’s Beverly Elementary School offers physical-education classes to grades K-5 prior to lunch. While the school has not tracked the student’s response to the schedule (which has been in effect since the school’s opening in 1998), principal Liz Kirby believes the children stay better focused throughout the school day after engaging in physical activities.

In contrast, Georgi Roberts, an area physical education and health administrator, says that this kind of change might not be realistic for every school district, yet, “there is a lot of merit there.” But, she says, “It would be a tough change for schools to make, particularly for the many schools that don’t even offer recesses in the first place.”