Hope’s Lunch Program: A Full 20 Minutes To Eat

This Fall, Hope Lutheran School created a cafeteria-type environment for the students by moving lunchtime into the Fellowship Hall, instead of students remaining in their classrooms as in years past. Student enjoy a full 20 minute lunch period to eat, socialize with their class along with two other classes, and get refreshed in a different environment. Café Stellina Catering provides creative hot lunch choices through the NEST Hot Lunch program to students 3 days per week, and the Washington DC fundraiser group provides lunch on Mondays and Fridays. Hope School Principal Mrs. Okabayashi says, “Students love our hot lunch program because there is a lot of variety and it’s tasty, and parents love it because it’s affordable and nutritious!”

Recently Seattle Public Schools has been in the news because some parents feel that students do not have enough time for lunch. To summarize, the Seattle Public School district requires that students have 20 minutes of eating time at lunch; however, that doesn’t seem to be happening in about 50 elementary schools in the district, as surveyed by parent organizer Deb Escher. Long wait times for hot lunch, along with time taken up by walking to and from the cafeteria and time to clean up seem to be some of the issues that may be preventing kids from getting enough time to eat. If you haven’t heard about this topic, you can learn more information by clicking here to read a report by NPR.

Whereas lunch and recess times are being cut back in many public and even private schools, Hope school believes that important social development happens during these non-structured times. Kindergarten through 5th grade students have 3 recess times per day along with 1 recess time per day for middle school students. Physical education also remains a top priority for all grades as studies have shown that children who get outside to play, explore their environment and expend extra energy, have better brain development and focus in class. Lower elementary grades enjoy PE two times per week while middle school PE meets two times per week with an option to take Advanced PE as an elective.