Maunu School – Play, Eat, Learn 

Play, Eat, Learn

At Maunu School we “Play, Eat, Learn” 

The aim is to provide a time to focus on eating in a calm, settled way and then transition successfully into learning programmes 

A number of schools across NZ have embraced this concept following the research Dr Kathleen Liberty, an Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury. 

To help children to focus on their learning, the practice reverses times for morning tea, lunch and play so that children play first then return to their learning studios, to eat and be calmer and ready to learn.

Research shows the body physiologically responds differently to the two activities – Playing and Eating:

Play– the body response is more aroused and heightened.

Eat – the body response is to naturally calm.


Changing the order to playing first and then eating has shown in international studies to improve children’s ability to pay attention in classrooms. With the “Play” first and then Eat, children eat more, drink more and have improved readiness to learn. They are not so inclined to rush their food to get out to play and are calm when they are eating after playing. By having the Learning time immediately following eating, they are more attentive, calm and ready to learn.


Children will also be able to have a healthy snack during the first block (between 8.55 – 10.40am) as it can be a long time from a child’s breakfast time. There will be “Brain Breaks” in each learning block 


Because your child will be having more frequent eating times during the day, please consider this when packing their lunchbox with them. Smaller portions and a few more healthy snacks may be helpful. We will provide more advice on “healthy” lunch food shortly. 


Water throughout the day is also a key aspect of improving a child’s ability to focus and concentrate. This could be thought of as “Drink-to-Think; Think-to-Drink”. Dehydration can contribute to poor concentration, memory problems and an increase in impulsive behaviour. Please make sure your child has a drink bottle and remember – we only allow water at school.


For up to date information on recommended food choices and tips for preparing healthy and inviting lunches, please click here to visit the 5+ A day website.


We encourage whanau to reduce waste by using lunchboxes with compartments and avoiding pre-packaged food. Use paper wrapping instead of plastic. At this stage we are a “take in – take out” school, so children will take home their uneaten food and any packaging. 


Our school timetable is outlined below:

 8.55 –  10.40: Learning Time 1

10.40 – 11.10: Play Time

11.10 – 11.25: Feed & Read

11.25 – 12.50: Learning Time 2

12.50 – 13.30: Play Time

13.30 – 13.40: Feed & Read

13.40 – 14.55: Learning Time 3