Burnside Primary School in Ōtautahi is one of several schools around the country that have implemented the ‘Play, Eat, Learn’ regime into their daily routine.
Tamariki are encouraged to play and use their built-up energy at the beginning of each daily break. Students are then hungrier, calmer and ready to eat their kai afterwards, leading into a more settled environment to learn.
Burnside assistant principal Nic Rickard says teachers had noticed that tamariki were desperate to play at 12.30 - the time traditionally allocated for eating lunch.
“Many hated having to sit for 15 minutes to eat. They wanted to run around!”
Nic says that overall, the school day now has more routine to it.
“The kids know that after running around, playing, they will have time to eat in a relaxed, calm way.
"We have seen a drop-off in the dreaded '5 minutes before the bell goes/going into class' behavioural issues. They have a purpose when they are going into class (food!), they are ready to eat and drink.
"I’d encourage other schools to give it a go - trial it if you need to. After careful consideration, we jumped in boots and all and we wouldn't go back.”
Overall, implementing ‘Play, Eat, Learn’ has helped tamariki get in the space for learning.
“We spent a lot of time talking about the logistics to ensure a change like this would be the best change for our school, and we ultimately decided it would be.”
“It was about ensuring all our ākonga were set up for their best day's learning - making sure that they had the right balance of fuel, play and learning sessions.”
Matt Bateman, Burnside's School Principal, also spoke with Dr Denise Quinlan as part of her Bringing Wellbeing to Live podcast. You can find this here.
AND we were also lucky enough to interview Nic about their wider approach to hauora at Burnside Primary, alongside Tracy Clelland from the University of Canterbury Health Sciences department.