I read an interesting article online this morning. It was an article about local moms with children in a Chicago Public School responding to School Breakfast in Classrooms.
One mom was completely against the program even though her first grade daughter’s school hasn’t implemented the program yet. Her daughter’s school has a breakfast program in the cafeteria already and she doesn’t see why it has to be implemented in a classroom setting. The mother stated “I feel like I should have the choice to feed my child what I want to feed her for breakfast, she should be in the classroom to learn, not to eat.”
According to this mom, Chicago has one of the lowest school hours in the country. She continued stating “We need to educate our kids; we don’t need to feed them.”
Last year, our kid’s elementary school introduced the School’s Free Breakfast Program. I find this to be a great program, not just for our kids but the entire school. The breakfast they serve our kids range from pancakes, cereal and milk, with a piece of fruit, to bagels and cream cheese. It’s not a full sit-down meal but it’s something in their stomachs that’s healthy and lets them get a jumpstart on their day. What’s on the menu is the same type of breakfast you would serve in the home.
Why Serve Breakfast At School?
There are many children out there who don’t have the opportunity to eat a nutritious breakfast each morning. There are those families out there that are living on an extremely tight budget and can’t provide the nutritious breakfast at home and can’t afford to buy it at school. Regardless of those families income, with today’s busy families and their busy lives, it’s often difficult for some families to sit down each morning to eat a nutritious breakfast.
How Children Benefit From Breakfast at School
Even though, I meal plan and will have quick breakfast ready for my kids in the morning, sometimes our kids are not physically capable of eating breakfast when they first wake up. I know that I’m not quite as hungry first thing in the morning until around 9 a.m. Being a mom who works outside the home, I have to be out that door by 7:45 a.m. each morning. Needless to say, there are times where we are in a hurry in the morning and don’t always eat a sit-down meal in the morning. On those rare occasions, I’ll pull breakfast burritos out of the freezer or muffins that I’ve made ahead of time along with a piece of fresh fruit.
According to the FRAC (Food Research and Action Center), studies conclude that students who eat school breakfast increase their math and reading scores as well as improve their speed and memory in cognitive tests. Research also shows that children who eat breakfast at school – closer to class and test-taking time – perform better on standardized tests than those who skip breakfast or eat breakfast at home. Evidence has grown that children who eat school breakfast are less likely to be overweight, and have improved nutrition – they eat more fruits, drink more milk, and consume a wider variety of foods than those who don’t eat breakfast or have breakfast at home. Schools that provide universal breakfast in the classroom report decreases in discipline and psychological problems, visits to school nurses and tardiness; increases in student attentiveness and attendance; and generally improved learning environments. Universal school breakfast refers to any school program that offers breakfast at no charge to all students, regardless of income.
Yes, I agree that it’s vital that students aren’t hungry when they go to school. It’s important that kids go to school with something in their stomachs. When kids don’t have a healthy breakfast, it’s reflected in behavior and learning. I’m sure that most teachers will agree. I do agree that breakfast should be available to those kids who need it, especially kids that don’t have food options available to them at home in the morning, whether their parents are busy, or working early, or don’t have the income. One other issue would be allergies or a restriction in your kid’s diet. I think if any child has any allergy issues of concern; they can be addressed with the school and accommodations should be made.
Do you approve of school breakfasts in the classroom? Post your comments below.