Fairgrove Elementary in Grover Beach just swapped lunch and recess this school year so kids play before they eat; some of the kids say they like the new schedules, others not as much.


Class starts at 8:40 a.m. there, and a lot of students say they're now ravenous by the time lunch rolls around.

"I don't really like it that much because we get hungry in class and then we go and play, so we don't play because we're hungry," said Kaylie Garcia, a fifth-grader at Fairgrove. "Then we go to lunch, and we're hungry, and we want to play."

Fifth-grader Anna Peimert says she was hungry at recess too--but that she could wait.

She adds the new schedule gets all her silliness out before making it back inside the classroom.

"If you have recess first and then lunch, you're not rowdy, and you can work and learn," Peimert said.

Principal Lara Storm says the new schedule also creates a social buffer zone between the classroom and recess because a lot of students forget their would-be tattles by the time they make it back into the classroom.

She also says she's seen significantly less food wasted since the program started since kids are hungrier--and thirstier--after running around.

"We have a crate we put unopened milk in," she said. "And last year at the end of lunch, it would be overflowing. This year, there's maybe five to ten milks in it."

Similar programs haven't always been successful; the Atascadero Unified School District says it tried recess before lunch for the 2009-10 school year and then went back to lunch before recess a year later.

The principal of San Gabriel Elementary in the district says it just didn't work and that it was hard to get students back inside to eat.

He said there was also no difference in appetites nor eating behaviors.

Fairgrove Elementary also says students have a morning recess too and that they're encouraged to bring a healthy snack to tide them over until lunch.

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