Fourteen of the 24 elementary schools in the Las Cruces (NM) school district have implemented recess before lunch schedules, reports the Las Cruces Sun-News. The change is credited with a reduction in discipline problems, an increase in attention and even less food waste. The holdup for the rest of the district elementaries joing the program hinges on the hiring of monitors to ensure that children wash their hands before sitting down to eat following their activity on the playground.
A plate waste study conducted by Food Services Director Nancy Cathey and Health and Nutrition Specialist Barbara Berger in February 2007, found a 23 percent increase in food consumption among children who get recess before sitting down to lunch. School nurses also report fewer referrals and teachers say the children are ready more quickly to sit down to afternoon classes if they are coming in from the lunchroom rather than the playground.