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Jilly_in_VA

(10,366 posts)
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 02:29 PM Apr 2024

Why are kids being forced to eat lunch in silence?

When my son started kindergarten, I wondered how he would adjust to a seven-hour school day without an afternoon nap and how quickly he would make new friends. I never imagined lunch would be the worst part of his day.

I was horrified to learn that his A-rated public school in one of North Carolina’s best school systems forced my five-year-old and his schoolmates to endure 15-minute silent lunches. Talking in a whisper would lead to a swift reprimand by the lunch monitor. He could even lose precious play time for excessive talking.

My son found this very stressful. Kindergarten meant much longer stretches of concentration. By lunchtime, he needed time to decompress. He continually mentioned his fear of getting in trouble, even though he was never singled out as far as I know.

When I questioned this policy, his teacher told me the short lunches allowed more time for electives and special academic programming that made their school best in its class. The intent was to maximize instructional time for the school’s prized technology and Spanish lessons – in theory, a good idea. That meant shaving minutes off other activities, and the school found that 15 minutes was not enough time to eat if the children were allowed to talk.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/apr/04/silent-school-lunch-kids-mental-health

15 minutes for lunch? Really? And in silence? What is this, a monastery?

23 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Why are kids being forced to eat lunch in silence? (Original Post) Jilly_in_VA Apr 2024 OP
My guess is somebody in authority wants to get the kids used to being watched bucolic_frolic Apr 2024 #1
Missing CloudWatcher Apr 2024 #2
I subbed at a school that had a 25-30 minute lunch. Phoenix61 Apr 2024 #3
One of the points of kindergarten is peer interaction/ social skill acquisition. Irish_Dem Apr 2024 #4
Play, unstructured and structured is the most important developmental task for children kindergarten age dlk Apr 2024 #5
My mother, an experienced preschool educator, was hire to consult for an "underpriveledged" preschool MadameButterfly Apr 2024 #8
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again, but expecting different results dlk Apr 2024 #18
Play is so important. MontanaMama Apr 2024 #10
So which is it? Biophilic Apr 2024 #6
The goad is to create obedient automatons who are incapable of thinking for themselves dlk Apr 2024 #19
I'm sorry, but this is just plain sick; snot Apr 2024 #7
But hey the school might be able to score higher on some kind of measure IbogaProject Apr 2024 #21
Do not question the rules, just obey or you will regret it. School. twodogsbarking Apr 2024 #9
Same kind of thing with my kids decades ago. If the lunchroom talking got too loud, pnwmom Apr 2024 #11
Sounds like a Republican idea of 'freedom' to me. louis-t Apr 2024 #12
This trend of turning kindergarten into a full day sitting at a desk doing worksheets has gotten totally out of hand. ShazzieB Apr 2024 #13
It takes me that long just to open and assemble my Lunchables JoseBalow Apr 2024 #14
And for a five year old??? PatSeg Apr 2024 #15
So they make it impossible for the kids to interact socially at luinch time. patphil Apr 2024 #16
I teach in an elementary school AwakeAtLast Apr 2024 #17
Then Jilly_in_VA Apr 2024 #20
15 minutes for lunch especially at that age is insane IbogaProject Apr 2024 #22
As a retired NC High School teacher CRK7376 Apr 21 #23

bucolic_frolic

(44,615 posts)
1. My guess is somebody in authority wants to get the kids used to being watched
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 02:37 PM
Apr 2024

and next year they'll change the lunch monitor to Jesus, Watching Over You!

CloudWatcher

(1,869 posts)
2. Missing
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 02:42 PM
Apr 2024

Sigh, missing from the essay was any indication that this parent had removed her son from this abusive school.

Phoenix61

(17,175 posts)
3. I subbed at a school that had a 25-30 minute lunch.
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 02:56 PM
Apr 2024

The first 15 minutes were silent to ensure the kids actually ate. It worked out very well.

Irish_Dem

(52,320 posts)
4. One of the points of kindergarten is peer interaction/ social skill acquisition.
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 02:58 PM
Apr 2024

Lunch time is a great time for that.

Also making young children be silent while eating seems like a punishment.

Maybe between talking and eating the kids couldn't eat in 15 minutes.
But I think it would be better to lengthen the lunch time then.
Yes it is too short.

dlk

(11,852 posts)
5. Play, unstructured and structured is the most important developmental task for children kindergarten age
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 03:01 PM
Apr 2024

Their development is actually being thwarted by this age-inappropriate, over structuring of their time.

MadameButterfly

(1,217 posts)
8. My mother, an experienced preschool educator, was hire to consult for an "underpriveledged" preschool
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 04:02 PM
Apr 2024

The well-meaning adults were teaching the kids math and reading at ages 3- 4. They were predicting that the kids would get to grade school and fall behind, as kids in the community had in the past. They were trying to give them a head start.

My mother explained that socialization and basic following of directions was what was appropriate at that age. Forcing them into skills they were too young to learn would not teach them the skills they needed most and would make them feel like failures before they even reached grade school.

It's interesting that the adults had internalized past children's failures in their community and were projecting the same result on children who had not (yet) failed. And they were potentially creating the result they feared.

dlk

(11,852 posts)
18. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again, but expecting different results
Sat Apr 6, 2024, 09:22 AM
Apr 2024

Just look around and it’s clear, too many of Americans have very poor social skills.

Biophilic

(4,046 posts)
6. So which is it?
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 03:25 PM
Apr 2024

On one hand the educators child psychologists are worried that young people don’t know how to engage in social interaction and on the other hand they pull a stunt like this in kindergarten. Give me a break. Kindergarten!! So yeah, these kids will be very good at passing tests, but will be very stunted emotionally and socially. What kind of adults are we hoping to develop?

dlk

(11,852 posts)
19. The goad is to create obedient automatons who are incapable of thinking for themselves
Sat Apr 6, 2024, 09:23 AM
Apr 2024

We see them all around us.

snot

(10,595 posts)
7. I'm sorry, but this is just plain sick;
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 03:25 PM
Apr 2024

or at least, it's a sign of sickness.

What is it that we're teaching, that leaves so little time for lunch? I'm skeptical, when as far as I can tell, kids coming out of school today are no better educated – if anything, less.

Something is very seriously wrong, and the adults in charge are either in denial about it or possibly are part of the cause.

IbogaProject

(3,041 posts)
21. But hey the school might be able to score higher on some kind of measure
Sat Apr 6, 2024, 03:00 PM
Apr 2024

Whew, what a mess corpotizing education has become.

twodogsbarking

(10,569 posts)
9. Do not question the rules, just obey or you will regret it. School.
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 04:23 PM
Apr 2024

No one questions the school. If school were so great they wouldn't punish you by giving you more school.

pnwmom

(109,178 posts)
11. Same kind of thing with my kids decades ago. If the lunchroom talking got too loud,
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 05:06 PM
Apr 2024

in the opinion of whoever was in charge, then they would delay recess time.

And I'd been in that lunchroom -- it was much quieter than a typical restaurant.

ShazzieB

(17,222 posts)
13. This trend of turning kindergarten into a full day sitting at a desk doing worksheets has gotten totally out of hand.
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 05:16 PM
Apr 2024

This is what happens when academics are prioritized over everything else, including letting kids be kids.

This stuff has been going on for a while now. My daughter started kindergarten in 1990, and even back then, it was a full day of seatwork, from what I could tell. She was SO not ready for that!

She barely made the age cutoff to start that year, and I would have waited another year to send her kindergarten if I'd had any idea what it would be like.

This school sounds even worse. At least my daughter was allowed to talk to the other kids at lunch time!

patphil

(6,470 posts)
16. So they make it impossible for the kids to interact socially at luinch time.
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 05:29 PM
Apr 2024

I'd prefer to have my kids go to a lesser school that provided more time for socialization, and didn't put so much pressure on the kids.
School should be more than just course work. It's where they learn to be part of the community.

AwakeAtLast

(14,178 posts)
17. I teach in an elementary school
Fri Apr 5, 2024, 06:05 PM
Apr 2024

If kids are allowed to talk the entire time at lunch, you would not believe the amount of food that is thrown away. Then, parents are upset that their child didn't eat. It's a catch 22 situation.

IbogaProject

(3,041 posts)
22. 15 minutes for lunch especially at that age is insane
Sat Apr 6, 2024, 03:03 PM
Apr 2024

I can see maybe the first 15 min quiet eating of a 30 minute lunch before a 30 or more minute recess. Finland is the happiest country and they don't even start school until a year or more after our kindergarten age.

CRK7376

(2,215 posts)
23. As a retired NC High School teacher
Sun Apr 21, 2024, 09:44 PM
Apr 21

One of the best things about retirement from school is now I can go to lunch with my wife or spend 30 minutes at home and not worrying about the kids coming back to my classroom or skipping the last period of the day....25 minutes was our lunch time. Just enough to wolf down a sandwich or nuke leftovers from home. hit the bathroom before the kids come back to class and sometimes run off a few extra copies of assignments or missed work from the previous day the kid was out sick etc...I can't imagine a kindergarten kid not being able to talk during lunch...but then it is NC and not the brightest lightbulb in the pack.....Save us from these idiots!

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