29 September 2014

The Lunch Pause

When we moved to our new neighborhood, Little Man started at a new school. We're very happy with the new school, and already in the last few weeks, we've seen him start to come out of his shell in a totally new way. It's been so positive in the month that school has been in session, it's crazy to think we nearly missed out on this great learning environment.

I liked everything about the school from the first visit. The staff and teachers were friendly, the students were happy, the school's population was diverse, the achievement scores were good - everything was looking wonderful. But our final decision was held up by one factor: the lunch pause.

The lunch pause is when the kids eat lunch (obviously), but traditionally, a Dutch basisschool would send all the kids home to eat their lunch. Many schools have opted for in-school lunch time overseen by parent volunteers in recent years, but some schools continue to use the more traditional schedule. At our new school, that makes the day run a bit later than other schools due to the built-in travel and eating time for the kids that head home for lunch. And what about the kids whose parents are working? For a small fee your kids can overblijven (stay over) during the lunch pause under adult supervision. You send them with their own lunch, they'll eat it (or not), and get some extra outside play before heading back to class.

When it came time for us to choose a new school, I hemmed and hawed over the final decision because of the lunch pause. I didn't want to limit my availability for my potential English students or have to pay for overblijven, but I really liked the school and I was afraid that the second choice school wasn't going to be a good fit for Little Man. In the end, we went for what felt a better fit and decided on overblijven two days a week to give me some continuous days to work with. And as it turns out, the days Little Man does lunch pause at home have given us time start getting into chapter books together with the bit of extra time after eating.

It was the best choice for us to make. We were right about the school being a good fit for Little Man, and we're starting to see him develop in such an amazing way in a truly nurturing environment. I'm so glad we didn't miss out on this school just because of my reluctance over the lunch pause.

Have you ever done lunch pause with your kids? Or do you have experience with a "different" school schedule?


  1. yay! I'm so glad that it's working out. And that would be my hold up too- so I'm thrilled that you went this route. You know, recently I've gotten a few emails about people looking to move over and they are so intent on going to an Int'l school- I want to scream: WHY?!?!?! The trad Dutch school rocks! But I was there once too- and I totally get it. I'm really so glad that you went with this choice :)

  2. It's a real relief that it's working out so well - and I think I appreciate the time we have on lunch pause days.
    I'd not change our decision to go with the local schools. Maybe if he was already quite older when we arrived we would have gone for an international school, but the first few years are the best time to get another language! The progress is astounding! =)

  3. How interesting, I think I would have loved this as a kid!

  4. Some days he's loves this, other days not, but I think that now that we have a routine, it just is what it is. =)


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