Silent Lunch Time

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elleon17's picture
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Silent Lunch Time

I'm more curious if anyone has hear of this or has experience with this.

Our elementary school (that my son will attend in 2016) and it is overcrowded, but I was really disappointed to find out they have what is called silent lunch where the kids are not allowed to talk. They are to eat and go back to class as to move the amount of kids in and out of the lunchroom.

Thoughts?

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I think that's terrible! The kids need to cut loose in the middle of the day...just like everybody else.

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Our school has a modified version of that. The kids have up to 30 minutes in the lunchroom, and then 15 minutes of outside play time; if they finish lunch faster, they get more play time, but everyone has to be out of the lunchroom after 30 minutes for the next wave of kids to come in. Ten minutes before the end of the lunch period, the principal (or whichever adult is supervising) rings a small bell to signify quiet time is beginning. No talking is allowed after that point, the kids need to finish their lunches and get outside. It's a good system, I think. It makes sure the kids have enough time to eat, but they also have time to chat for a while first, and then they move on to outside play so the next group can use the lunchroom. I don't think I'd support a totally quiet lunch period, or returning immediately to class. As Laurie said, kids need some break time in the middle of the day.

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What's wrong with them eating in their classrooms?

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"blather" wrote:

What's wrong with them eating in their classrooms?

Ants and cockroaches. Food dropped on the carpet increases wear. Beverages or soups spilled can damage schoolwork or even school property. Better to keep it contained in a place more easily cleaned.

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I have heard of this in many situations. I do not think it is a good idea to not allow children to talk while eating. Lunch should be one time during the day where you can talk. So much for school being for socialization. I also do not think it is a good idea to encourage children to rush through eating. I think it is much healthier to eat at a steady pace (within reason).

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The only time I've ever heard of a silent lunch period was when I was in 7th grade...Massive food fight erupted and we had silent lunch for the rest of the year. I was pissed because I didn't participate in the food fight.

In my experience, letting kids blow off steam makes for a much better afternoon at school.

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I can see both sides of this coin, and neither are a perfect option. I think they need to talk. It gives them social skills, lets them have some time to relax and sometimes the social influence of kids seeing other kids try new foods is a good thing. On the other side though I know schools struggle with kids that come back to class and they are starving because they didnt eat during that time because of talking. So easy to say "well the kid will eat next time," but most dont learn that lesson.
Our school now has a rule that the first 10 mins are a no talking time. It give the lunch room monitors a chance to help kids get situated and the kids a few minutes to get some food in

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I think the way Stacey's school does it seems to make a lot of sense. I get the need to move kids along, sometimes we do it at home. If the kids are really hyper and not focused on eating, dinner can drag on forever, which then means they go to bed late. So sometimes even at home we say "Okay, no more fooling around, its time to finish up dinner"

I can't imagine forcing them to be silent for the entire lunch though. I don't agree with that.

There are three buses that service my elementary school. One of the bus drivers has a "no talking" policy on his bus. I couldn't believe it when i found that out! I don't agree with it. Fortunately that bus is not the bus my kids take. I love our bus driver! She's awesome!

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My kid only gets 15 min to eat, and that is after outside time, so includes coming in, taking off snow gear, on inside shoes and eating. I would prefer they make them eat silently (which they dont), then the kids go hungry cause they spent too much time socializing. Lots of teachers give the kids extra time, but DD's class has gym right after lunch, so if she doesnt get them up and going right away, they miss there only run around time. It is a really unfortunate situation, and it drives me nuts when most of her lunch comes home and she is starving after school cause she talked through the little time she had at lunch.

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"Spacers" wrote:

Ants and cockroaches. Food dropped on the carpet increases wear. Beverages or soups spilled can damage schoolwork or even school property. Better to keep it contained in a place more easily cleaned.

It is extremely rare around here to have a school with a lunch room. The kids all eat in the classroom, and while I have seen the occasional spilled soup, it is rarely a problem. Certainly not with ants or cockroaches. Delicate equipment is moved out to the way. The kids are taught to clean up after themselves and contain their mess. It takes less time (no moving of kids from place to place), every kid already has a designated place to sit (their desk), and in most cases it enables the teacher to give the kids who need it extra time to eat by rolling it into a read aloud, or silent reading time. I think it is an awesome system.

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I like lunch in a lunch room. Gives the kids another opportunity to socialize with kids who are NOT in their classroom. Yes they have recess too, but between the two, thats about it!

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Nope, I would not want the kids eating in their classrooms on a regular basis. I like that they get to socialize with the kids in other classes & grades. Another thing is that nearly half our kids gets hot lunch, either because they get it free or their parents don't want to pack a lunch every day. If those kids were eating in their classrooms, they would be trying to carry a tray with all their lunch stuff back to the classroom, and up the stairs if they're older kids. I can just imagine the number of dropped lunches skyrocketing. And the teachers need their break time, too! The law says they get 30 minutes without any responsibility for the kids, they can even leave campus if they want.

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I really hate the idea of it and think lunch is a time for socialization. Especially the young ones that are expected to be quiet and sit still for 90% of their school day.

I wouldn't mind the modified version that a few mentioned, where there is silent time in the beginning or end.

We live in florida and unfortunately many of the classrooms are portables (due to overcrowding and slow infrastructure building by the school board and county commissioners) so eating in a classroom really wouldn't be an option as far as I can see.

Here's to hoping that maybe situations change in the next year or so and we can send him to private for elementary

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"Spacers" wrote:

The law says they get 30 minutes without any responsibility for the kids, they can eve
n leave campus if they want.

This has to vary by area. While I agree there should be a break, DH has worked in schools were the teachers and staff were required to eat with the students.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

This has to vary by area. While I agree there should be a break, DH has worked in schools were the teachers and staff were required to eat with the students.

Is it possible that lunch wasn't their break but they were afforded a break at some other time in the day (like during specials or something).

I would think that it would be a labor law everywhere that you have to have a break at some point. At least i would hope so.

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"elleon17" wrote:

Here's to hoping that maybe situations change in the next year or so and we can send him to private for elementary

Or become the squeaky wheel and start making noise for change. Private school doesn't have to be the only option. Making this school better would benefit all the kids, not just yours. Schools are only as good as the parents are. Go to a PTA meeting and ask if other options might be considered. Go to the district and find out if this might violate a policy. Go to your local & state elected officials and see if they mightbe interested in getting involved for change.

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"Spacers" wrote:

Nope, I would not want the kids eating in their classrooms on a regular basis. I like that they get to socialize with the kids in other classes & grades. Another thing is that nearly half our kids gets hot lunch, either because they get it free or their parents don't want to pack a lunch every day. If those kids were eating in their classrooms, they would be trying to carry a tray with all their lunch stuff back to the classroom, and up the stairs if they're older kids. I can just imagine the number of dropped lunches skyrocketing. And the teachers need their break time, too! The law says they get 30 minutes without any responsibility for the kids, they can even leave campus if they want.

Hot lunches are delivered by lunch monitors, older students who carry them in big bins and distribute in the classroom. The teachers still get that time off. The younger classes are directly supervised by older students who volunteer to eat with them, and adult supervisors roam the halls and check in, are available if needed. It works really well here.

I understand that this is not an ideal solution for everyone. But if people have a problem with the situation in the original post, it could be a viable option. There is nothing saying that eating in the classroom would not work. I understand you think the children should be able to socialize, but they cant do that in a silent lunch room. I have seen it done for over 30 years here (just my time in schools), if bugs and ruined equipment were an issue, I'm sure it would have been changed by now.

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"elleon17" wrote:

I really hate the idea of it and think lunch is a time for socialization. Especially the young ones that are expected to be quiet and sit still for 90% of their school day.

I wouldn't mind the modified version that a few mentioned, where there is silent time in the beginning or end.

We live in florida and unfortunately many of the classrooms are portables (due to overcrowding and slow infrastructure building by the school board and county commissioners) so eating in a classroom really wouldn't be an option as far as I can see.

Here's to hoping that maybe situations change in the next year or so and we can send him to private for elementary

Again, seen it done tons in portables. Spent most of my school career in one. Not sure what the objection is?

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"ftmom" wrote:

Hot lunches are delivered by lunch monitors, older students who carry them in big bins and distribute in the classroom. The teachers still get that time off. The younger classes are directly supervised by older students who volunteer to eat with them, and adult supervisors roam the halls and check in, are available if needed. It works really well here.

I understand that this is not an ideal solution for everyone. But if people have a problem with the situation in the original post, it could be a viable option. There is nothing saying that eating in the classroom would not work. I understand you think the children should be able to socialize, but they cant do that in a silent lunch room. I have seen it done for over 30 years here (just my time in schools), if bugs and ruined equipment were an issue, I'm sure it would have been changed by now.

RE the bold: In this thread, no one who is saying they like the lunchroom model better is saying they think an entirely silent lunch is appropriate. Nor do I think its even close to necessary in a lunchroom.

ETA: Also if push comes to shove and my only options were a class room lunch or a silent lunch obviously i'd pick the class room lunch. I'm definitely not arguing that a silent lunch in a lunch room is better than a class room lunch where kids can talk. I really hope thats not what people are taking from my posts.

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"KimPossible" wrote:

Is it possible that lunch wasn't their break but they were afforded a break at some other time in the day (like during specials or something).

I would think that it would be a labor law everywhere that you have to have a break at some point. At least i would hope so.

I am not exactly sure how it works. There is no break built in for interpreters in DH's school system but there are natural down times. For example in PE while the kids are playing a game the coach is not speaking so no interpreting is happening but it is not like he could leave and go somewhere else. Teachers have a planning period but I believe it is the same, you can not leave. Lunch was included in the hours of the day and you are expected to be with the students. This has been different in different schools DH has worked in. This year, the teachers and staff eat in the break room. Last year (Same school system different school) teachers and staff were required to eat with the students.

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"Spacers" wrote:

Or become the squeaky wheel and start making noise for change. Private school doesn't have to be the only option. Making this school better would benefit all the kids, not just yours. Schools are only as good as the parents are. Go to a PTA meeting and ask if other options might be considered. Go to the district and find out if this might violate a policy. Go to your local & state elected officials and see if they mightbe interested in getting involved for change.

Oh trust me we have. meeting, emails, phone calls, petitions, knocking on neighbors doors.

We just lost the battle for relief because the cost of moving the portables to another school to more evenly distribute the students was more than they wanted to spend. Even though the option we fought for had the most community support.

For a school with a capacity of 850, we are projected for 1500 student in 2017, 2000 students in 2019 and the next relief school isn't scheduled till after 2017 and they don't seem to open in the timeframe they are supposed to.

DS is going into an early fives program, so we don't have to worry just yet, but we will soon enough.

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Oh my gosh, that sounds like a nightmare! I'd seriously take it to my elected officials, that amount of overcrowding has to violate state standards, even in Florida! Ask the local media to do a story on it, too. :bighug: