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The Comfortable Cafeteria and Refreshing Recess Programs: Promoting Participation and Health During Lunch and Recess


All students have a right to participate in and enjoy lunch and recess. Non-academic times of the school day can be significant contributors to student mental and physical health. When students enjoy lunch and recess, have good friends, and perceive school personnel to be supportive, they feel more connected to school which, in turn, enhances academic performance. The aim of this session is to provide detailed information about how to implement the Comfortable Cafeteria (CC) and Refreshing Recess (RR) programs emphasizing inclusive participation, friendship promotion, mealtime conversations, healthy eating, and active play. The goals of these programs are to: 1) Create positive physical, sensory, and social environments (enough time to eat; pleasant conversations; friendship promotion; enjoyable play activities; friendly supervisors); 2) Build capacity of recess & cafeteria supervisors to do their jobs effectively; and 3) Promote healthy eating and active play habits. Success stories of how related service providers (e.g. OT, PT, school counselors, SLPs) collaborate with relevant school personnel in creative ways to implement these programs in urban, suburban, and rural schools will be described. Information needed to implement the programs is free on the Every Moment Counts website and will be reviewed.

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What you'll receive:

  • Power Point presentation (pdf) and bonus video tour of the website. Access to webinar for 90 days.
  • Personalized certificate of completion with contact hours after you have completed the webinar and submitted the feedback form

Contact hours: 1.5


Susan Bazyk, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Topic Outline:

  • Foundation information on the vision, goals, and implementation of each program
  • Detailed review of how to gear up for implementation, evaluate your school’s needs, and implement the 6-week/1 day per week program (weekly theme, lesson plan, and collateral materials)
  • Video vignettes of cafeteria and recess supervisors and children talking about the benefits of the programs
  • Suggestions for how to modify the programs based on the specific school context
  • Program outcomes based on pre- and post-surveys of students and supervisors


  • Describe how to implement the Comfortable Cafeteria and Refreshing Recess programs focusing on inclusive participation, friendship promotion, mealtime conversations, healthy food choices, and active play in order to foster mental and physical health and build capacity of supervisors;
  • Use the Every Moment Website free downloadable resources, including posters, bookmarks, and weekly Lesson Plans, to plan and implement the cafeteria and recess programs;
  • Describe success stories for how to adapt implementation of the Comfortable Cafeteria and Refreshing Recess programs in order to meet the distinct needs of diverse school settings including urban, rural, and suburban.

Target Audience:

Interdisciplinary related services providers especially occupational therapy practitioners, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, and school counselors. Content is also relevant to teachers (general and special education), school nurses, school administrators (principals and assistant principals, directors of special education), PE teachers, and cafeteria and recess supervisors.


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Susan Bazyk, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Susan Bazyk, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA is the founding director of Every Moment Counts, which was launched in 2012. She has 40+ years' experience as an occupational therapy (OT) practitioner, educator, and researcher. In addition to authoring the book, Mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention with children and youth: A guiding framework for occupational therapy (2011), Dr. Bazyk has authored over 40 journal articles and book chapters. Recent awards include Crain's Cleveland Business Health Care Hero Award (2016), AOTA's Award for Innovative and Emerging Practice (2018), and World Learning Fulbright Specialist Award (2019-2024). Sue is committed to building capacity of interdisciplinary teams to learn about and implement Every Moment Counts strategies and programs. She presents and consults both nationally and internationally.


Bazyk, S., Demirjian, L., Horvath, F., & Dosxey, L. (2018). The Comfortable Cafeteria program for promoting student participation and enjoyment: An outcome study.  American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74 (3), 1-9, https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot2018.02379

Disclaimer: The Every Moment Counts webinars are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace independent professional judgment. Implementation results depend on participant’s clinical expertise and commitment to best practice with children/youth and families served. As such, Every Moment Counts, LLC is not responsible for the outcomes or results that you anticipate from learning about and using the information presented. 

For questions regarding this webinar, please contact us.