Balanced School Day Information


What is a Balanced School Day?

A balanced school day operates during the same start/finish times  but the blocks of learning time are reworked within this time frame.   There is no change to the number of teaching minutes per  day, nor to the total number of recess minutes per day, just fewer transition times and increased learning time.

The school is changed from the traditional 2 short recesses + lunch and 1 longer recess to 2 nutrition breaks &  recess.    A balanced day schedule might look something like this:

School starts at 8:30am
Food Break & Recess #1:  10:10 – 10:50 am
Food Break & Recess #2: 12:55 – 1:40pm
School ends: 3:00pm

Suggested benefits of a balanced school day schedule:

  • Fewer behaviour problems
  • Greater ability to concentrate
  • Improved student learning

For more detailed information on the Balanced School Day check these links :

Balanced School Day – People for Education Fact Sheet

Balanced School Day – Peel School Board Info

Balanced Day Lunch Ideas

For parents, the biggest change for the Balanced School Day is going to be how and what to pack for lunch.   The balanced day provides a 2 longer nutrition breaks/lunches instead of 2 snacks and 1 lunch.

You can organize your child’s meals in one of 3 ways:


Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Break 1


½ Lunch & Snacks


Break 2


½ Lunch & Snacks


 The links listed below have tons of ideas and suggestions for lunch menus, food combinations and healthy kid friendly snacks:

City of Ottawa’s Balanced Lunch suggestions

Balanced School Day Menus

Cool Lunch Ideas for a Balanced Day

Balanced Food Day Information & Menus

 Simple Solutions to Balanced School Day Nutrition Breaks

Frequently Asked Questions About the Balanced School Day:

Q. Can our school council still run a hot lunch or special lunch day program?
A.  Yes!  Actually you now have expanded opportunities to improve the nutrition offered in these programs.  You can offer milk & juice twice a day; a breakfast and a lunch option; offer hot lunch during the second break.

Q. What are the Benefits of the Balanced School Day?
A. There are many advantages to the Balanced School Day schedule, including:

  • More uninterrupted instructional time
  • Enhanced learning environment
  • Improved student concentration and energy levels
  • Greater task completion for both students and educators
  • Positive influence on student achievement and health
  • More time for students to relax and enjoy their lunch
  • Improved physical fitness for both students and educators
  • More time for daily physical activity and play

Have a question?  Tell us and we’ll try and answer it for you….