My students come to school curious and thirsty for new information daily. They are welcoming and willing to try new things. Most come from homes that often lack the ability to provide them opportunity to explore and try new things. My kiddos come from homes where they do not have access to healthy food choices. The neighborhood that surrounds them is often called a "food desert.," as it does not give the families access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Our school has a program that addresses this issue, it provides a healthy snack every morning. Kids are given either a fruit or raw vegetable to enjoy during their recess. This allows them to have a healthy snack, as well as to try something new that they perhaps would not have access too.
A growing brain needs good food intake and giving my kids a place to sit and refuel during recess, will help them focus and learn in the classroom. When kids don't have a comfortable place to sit and enjoy their snack, they will often not eat during recess. They then come in and are not able to focus on instruction. The picnic table and umbrella will do just that! When a child is hungry they will be sluggish and irratable which causes off task behavior. Since I teach in an area that can have very hot temperatures, having a shady area will help kids stay cool. When kids overheat themselves it causes them to get tired and become inactive in the classroom.
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