When it comes to the schooling system, Portugal is doing it right.

A good friend of mine, Nuno Chitas, owns a small Portuguese convenience store in Westport called the Village Market. He's originally from Portugal and his family currently resides there while he lives in the U.S. His cousin's children attend school there and apparently the day schedule is somewhat brilliant.

"School starts at 9 a.m. and at 12 p.m., they have a two-hour break for lunch," Chitas tells me.

The students can either stay at the school to eat lunch and play sports or they can go home and eat (obviously if a parent or legal guardian is there to meet them or pick them up) and then they would have to come back at 2 p.m. and finish the day off at 4 p.m.

These are normal hours in all the schools in the Lisbon area.

Where Chitas is from, businesses and restaurants have collaborated their daily hours that help correspond with the school system.

"Everyone in Portugal gets a two-hour break for lunch. All the businesses close from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and then all the restaurants close from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. for siesta (a nap)," Chitas says.

So for parents who have trouble getting home from work early enough, this could be extremely beneficial. If you really think about it, it's not exactly rocket science, but it's wise and it makes sense. These kids are getting daily naps and are relaxing their brains for a couple of hours before having to cram more school work into their head. It allows social interaction to increase and to become more physically active outside of the classroom (i.e., sports, recess, fresh air).

In reality, I'm sure it would be a complicated task to reform the curriculum and reschedule an already-built educational itinerary, but perhaps it could improve the overall schooling for our local community.

I'm not saying Portugal's ideology is better than anyone else's, it just makes more sense if you stop to think about it.

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