Lord Roberts Elementary finds creative ways to teach healthy living

Schools & Students

When presented with either eating his full lunch or running around with his friends, Graydon Andrews always chose his friends.

This has changed for the grade 7 student at Lord Roberts Elementary, because he no longer has to choose. Students, teachers and administrators at the school are embracing mindful eating, giving students 15 minutes of class time to eat, learn and be together. 

Lord Roberts is located in the West End, in the middle of the Lower Mainland’s most dense neighbourhood. The school community is growing, with enrolment up by nearly 17% over the past five years. This year they were faced with two dilemmas – not having enough space in their multi-purpose room for students to eat lunch, and not having enough time for all classes to use the gym.

Teachers and administrators came together and came up with a creative solution – mindful lunch and partnering with the West End Community Centre for gym space. The solution is also aligned with the core competencies in the new BC curriculum, which focus on communication, thinking, personal competency and social competency.

Before each lunch hour, students eat their lunch together, while learning about composting, food nutrition and other food related topics. They are also encouraged to make their own litter-less lunch to bring the lessons home.

“When kids make their own lunch, they are more likely to eat their lunch,” said Allison Kerr, principal of Lord Roberts Elementary. “The effect is that they are calmer and have more energy in the afternoon.”

Graydon says he has experienced this increase in energy and actually comes home ready to do homework after an active day.

“After school I’d be tired and sometimes would have to skip soccer or other sports and just go to bed,” said Graydon. “Now I can do two practices in a row and my homework.”

To solve the problem of the lack of gym time, Roberts partnered with the West End Community Centre, which lets them use un-booked space when needed without charging a fee.

The community centre is less than a five minute walk down the street and opens up the opportunity for students to take on different activities like dancing, yoga and skating.

“We realized that physicality does not only happen in a gym,” said Kerr. “It’s about getting outside of the classroom and getting outside the school and connecting with one another and the community.” 

Lord Roberts mindful eating