Breakfast in the Classroom

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What

Create a system for increasing breakfast participation by delivering reimbursable meals to classrooms for student consumption before or during class.

Why

According to one study, more than 60% of students do not eat breakfast each day, and nearly 75% of teachers surveyed have students who regularly come to school hungry. This Play is a proven way to help get more students to eat breakfast which can help them do better in school; and it can be done without taking away from learning.

How

  • Huddle up with the School Nutrition Manager/staff (like those who work in your cafeteria) to help with food selections, cost management and preparation; the Principal to give your plan a thumbs up; Teachers to support the plan; Custodians to help plan an efficient clean-up system; and Students to help with food selection and delivery to classrooms.
  • Making your case: It's important to convince Teachers, Administrators and Parents that Breakfast in the Classroom won't disrupt the day.
    • Consider making presentations to get Teachers on board, or convince several Teachers to test pilot Breakfast in the Classroom and then share how it went with other Teachers.
    • Use this video to show Teachers how it is already working all over the country. For more help, use the research about the program's value found below in Tools and Resources.
    • There is also information for your School Nutrition Professionals about the way you can make breakfast free for all students, which has been shown to dramatically increase participation.
    • Invite Teachers and Parents to come to the cafeteria before school to see how long it takes Students to get through the line. Invite Parents back once you have Breakfast in the Classroom to see how orderly and quick it can be!
    • Plan your menu. Ask for help from your school health advisory or other school wellness committee, if you have one. Then work with your School Nutrition Professionals to create a menu of delicious, low-cost, nutrient-rich breakfast choices that are easy to package and transport to classrooms. Include low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, whole grains/oats, fruits and vegetables. Consider polling students or conducting taste tests to see what they would like. Sample menus are available in More from Our Teammates below.
  • Consider inviting a local Farmer to visit your school and join in Student taste tests of the foods you are considering for the menu. The Farm to School Play can help.
  • Get organized: Make a plan using lunch carts, borrowing media carts from the library and getting donations of insulated bags that can be delivered right to classrooms. Recruit a local grocery store, farm or restaurant that may be willing to provide donations of food items or funding. Put together a breakfast team of Students who can help deliver the food.
  • Get the word out: Create posters to put up in high-traffic areas, distribute flyers in classrooms and advertise your program during morning announcements. Get the word out on your school's website, blog or in your school's eNewsletter. Consider promotional activities like those found in the Healthy Eating Play A Hero's Breakfast, where you invite local celebrities to visit classrooms during breakfast to reinforce the message that breakfast is fun and important.
  • Involve the community. Schedule a meeting with your school's parent organization and let them know what they can do to help. See our Homefield Advantage tips to help involve Parents at school and at home.
This Play may help you meet the goals of the USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge!

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Breakfast in the Classroom

Our students have Breakfast in the Classroom and it gives them an opportunity to Fuel Up for the day. It also allows them to talk to their friends and prepare for their days. When they have an opportunity to socialize during breakfast it's easier to focus when it's time to work.

This has been a blessing to our school because many kids would come to school hungry. The kids love the variety of items and I even buy the breakfast on certain days. My kids go to a different school, but they would talk about the pancakes and how they wanted more than one package. I went online and found the pancakes at Sams. My kids have now added them to their breakfast menu at home. Back to the classroom. My students are now able to concentrate on what they are going to learn for the day. The best thing about it is that the majority of my class will now eat breakfast at school. When they were eating in the cafeteria, many would not eat for some reason. I hope that this program continues well into the future.

So many of our students were skipping breakfast in the cafeteria each morning and this was causing them to be extremely hungry before their lunchtime. This led to low motivation and unhappy kids. We started bringing breakfast to the classrooms and we have seen a huge increase, in a short amount of time, in the quality of work being done by the students. We believe that a healthy mind and body will produce better results in the classroom. The students are enjoying having their breakfast brought to them and this had led to a cafe style breakfast for the kids!!!

Our school has implemented Breakfast in the Classroom. The teachers and students love the program. Every student in the school and every employee gets a nutritious breakfast. They are all very healthy. Whole wheat biscuits and whole grain cereals, milk and juice.

Our school has "Breakfast on Wheels" all students are eligible for a free breakfast in the classroom. This is great because when students do not have breakfast the become sluggish and do not learn as well.

Our students formed a team and then promoted breakfast by going to classrooms and talking up the benefits of eating a nutritious breakfast, and highlighted it only cost $1 to do so. They made a breakfast commercial which aired in all classrooms, and handed out coupons to try a free breakfast to all students and staff.

Our middle grades teaching team arranged the morning schedule to allow classes time to eat breakfast together during the school day. Our teachers also role modeled the importance of eating breakfast. We offered an incentive to the class who had the highest percent of students eating breakfast.

We have been doing breakfast in the classroom everyday now since the beginning of this school year and it has worked out wonderfully. Children are doing better on tests.