Recess before Lunch



General description: Whenever possible active recess should be provided before lunch. When offering Recess before Lunch, students play then eat.  Research shows that students:

  • Waste less food;
  • Behave better on the playground, in the cafeteria, and in the classroom; and
  • Are more ready to learn upon returning to the classroom immediately after lunch, so less instructional time is lost.

Build support within your school (see link below for promotional example)

  • Develop a hand-washing routine
  • Allow 25-30 minutes for lunch period
  • Determine an easily accessible location for cold lunches
  • Collect lunch money before recess
  • Realize change isn’t always easy

Inclusion tips

All students with special needs can participate in the same recess/lunch schedule as other students.  Some students may have a special lunch schedule due to dietary needs or time needed for eating. Students with disabilities require special consideration and overt encouragement to participate with classmates in recess. Again the school routines may need to be reviewed to determine how to best include students in special education classes, safely in recess. Many students with disabilities (most Medical, Cognitive, Social –Psychological) do not require special accommodations to participate in recess. Encouragement to participate may be the greatest need.


Tip Sheets, Power points and more – Peaceful Playgrounds