How SMART Lunch is Helping Students


Elizabeth Lovell

It seems ridiculous to say that giving students less time for education and more time to socialize at school will give them a better education. However, studies show that this is exactly what will happen. As you become older, you get fewer and fewer breaks throughout the school day. Schools across the United States are beginning to take away recesses for children in order to maximize classroom time, which is ultimately causing the children more harm than good. But how does that translate to high school?

This year, our school implemented a SMART Lunch program, which gives the students here 54 minutes of break time to eat lunch, work with teachers, and socialize. Adding more time for students to take a break from academics and leave the school promotes responsibility, time management, and good decision making skills. Students need “brain breaks” like these in order to stay focused in their academic classes. With more free time, it also gives students a chance to connect with the friends they may not see in their classes and meet people from other grades. In fact, some of the most academically successful countries have longer breaks after every class, while in America, only about 20 minutes is spent on breaks in one day.

Giving juniors and seniors open campus is also beneficial. Since many students live in town, it’s easier for them to make the choice to go home for lunch and eat healthier. Of course, many students will also choose to go to a fast food restaurant. As unhealthy as many fast food places are, it promotes variety in their diet, which they may not always get at the school. However, trying to feed all students from every grade at the same time would take more time and supplies from the school. As with everything, there are other problems. One thing that has prevented many schools from releasing their students for lunch is the worry about their safety while not on school grounds. Students in a rush to get back to class have a higher risk of getting into accidents, and there are a number of other things that can happen to students while not under the watch of the school.

Giving students a longer lunch with more opportunities has been proven to decrease stress, get higher grades, and gives them the opportunities to learn how to make good choices for themselves. It also helps to prepare them for a college setting. The SMART lunch setting gives students the chance to vary their diets, do their homework, and get extra help from their teachers. Overall, SMART lunch programs and extra breaks for students have beneficial advantages for those who choose to use them wisely.