Elementary students need longer blocks of time for lunch
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The time that is given to young children in the Vancouver School District is currently far too short. 15 minutes is not a sufficient amount of time for kids to get through the food line, find a seat, and healthfully eat their lunches. The current lunch schedule results in kids not being able to finish their meal in time, or rush-eating their food. It doesn't allow them to practice basic healthy habits like chewing more slowly and eating mindfully, or leisurely socializing with friends during their meal. It induces anxiety rather than satisfaction. It also results in an excessive amount of food waste since kids end up throwing away what they don't have time for. Naturally, this means kids end up hungry towards the afternoon and may have a harder time focusing in class. The problems associated with this extremely short lunch period are numerous.
This is especially problematic for children living in poverty. For many of them, their school lunch might be the only hot meal they eat each day.
Vancouver School Board's policy agenda states a desire to strive for the "education of the whole child". Surely this would include something as basic and necessary as healthy eating habits. Healthy eating does not only mean providing food that meets certain guidelines but also eating mindfully, chewing your food, nourishing your body, not just eating as quickly and mindlessly as possible. Our children are learning lifelong habits, and these lessons they're currently learning in the lunchroom are not the lessons that will set them up for a healthy relationship with their food. 15 minutes is just simply not enough.
We recognize this is not a simple, easy-to-solve problem due to the numerous factors and logistics involved in feeding so many children, but as concerned parents and community members, we urge the board to consider this issue a priority and work to find meaningful solutions in as timely a manner as possible. Provide our kids with extended lunch periods so that they will be best prepared to return to their classrooms with nourished bodies ready to work, and brains ready to learn.
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