Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
The purpose of this study was to ascertain the perceptions of elementary school staff in regards to scheduling recess after or before lunch and the effect each schedule had on students.
This research was conducted in Fall 2016 when a Midwestern elementary school had recess after lunch (RAL) and in Spring 2017 when the same school had recess before lunch (RBL). A mixed methods approach was used. Nineteen teachers completed a Likert-scale survey, six of whom completed both the pre- and post-survey. One principal and five lunchroom supervisors participated in individual semi-structured interviews pertaining to their perceptions of recess scheduling. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all surveys. Dependent paired t-test were conducted on pre- and post-surveys. Qualitative data analysis utilized the constant comparison method, which is part of Grounded Theory.
The key finding from this study was that logistical planning needs to be a priority of policy makers. School professionals should be clearly informed about the changes being made, how any changes may affect their job directly or indirectly, and provided adequate training to allow every school professional the best opportunity to contribute to a successful schedule change. Issues that pertained to logistical planning typically were perceived to be less adequate after RBL was implemented. However, issues regarding the academics and behavior of children were typically perceived as more beneficial after RBL was implemented. These results suggest that RBL does produce perceived positive benefits from school professionals, but detailed planning, preparation, and logistical barriers should be anticipated and resolved before implementation of RBL.
Applications to Child Nutrition Professionals
The results of this study may be useful for school administrators and other school staff including principals, teachers, and lunchroom supervisors considering changing schedules from a RAL to RBL format. Professionals should have a clear plan of action before implementing a RBL schedule. Challenges and achievements expressed by professionals who have already undergone the change are invaluable for this plan of action.
McKinnis, Reilly Layne, "Scheduling Recess: Perceptions of Lunchroom Supervisors, Teachers, and Principal" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 873.