The rationale behind the Balanced School Day is that it will improve academic achievement by increasing time-on task in the classroom setting. The Balanced School Day schedule divides the school day into three 100- minute blocks of instructional time. Two longer nutrition and activity breaks are provided in the morning and afternoon instead of the traditional mid morning/mid afternoon recess and noon hour lunch. This schedule creates equally balanced teaching/learning blocks in the school day. The two nutritional/activity breaks of 40-55 minutes allow time for eating and activity in both the morning and afternoon. Nutrition breaks provide 20-25 minutes for eating and 20-30 minutes for activity.
The benefits of the Balanced School Day are three-fold: academic, nutrition and physical activity.
- More instruction time with less interruption allows teaching and learning to occur at an optimum level.
- Longer lessons to continue without interruption (literacy blocks, science classes, and art classes).
- Time to program reading, writing, and oral activities in a more integrated way; allows teachers to be flexible with programming.
- Research indicates that children need frequent food breaks during the day.
- Schedule provides two opportunities for students to consume nutritious food rather than eating on the run at recess.
- Students who are nutritionally satisfied can concentrate better and more effectively.
- Allows students two opportunities of 20-25 minutes a day of uninterrupted play.
- Quality exercise time energizes students, helps them to concentrate on school work and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
- Introduction of physical education initiative, which includes daily activities for middle years’ students during first activity period.
- Opportunities for middle years’ students to mentor younger students in activities.
The Interlake School Division has implemented the Balanced School Day in all Kindergarten – Grade 8 schools.