Numerous studies show that eating breakfast has great impact on children’s ability to learn. According to the Food Research and Action Center, eating breakfast in school has also been shown to improve test scores and increase students’ classroom performance(2). Despite this, many children skip or do not have access to breakfast. Schools that participate in the national School Breakfast Program receive federal funding. Qualified students, of low income families, receive free or reduced breakfasts, yet over half of those that qualify do not participate. In schools that do participate, many students still chose to not eat the breakfast provided in the cafeteria (1).
The Breakfast in the Classroom initiative seeks to improve breakfast program participation by encouraging schools to make meals more convenient. The initiative spreads awareness about the benefits of eating breakfast in school and how moving breakfast to the classroom can increase the likelihood that students will receive and eat their first meal of the day. Bringing breakfast to the classroom ensures that all students have time to eat it! Schools that participate in the School Breakfast Program can get the federal funding necessary to provide free and reduced breakfast meals that are nutritionally rich and provide students with the energy needed to concentrate and learn. Many schools with help of federal funding and/or additional grants many schools are offering universal breakfast. Universal breakfast means that all students regardless of financial status receive free meals at school (3).
The ultimate goal of school breakfast programs and initiatives is to provide students with affordable, nutritious foods that will fuel their bodies and minds for the academic day. Bringing the meal to the classroom is one initiative focused on this common goal, to find out if it is right for your school, or to find alternate approaches visit the Food Research and Action Center’s “Expanding School Breakfast Participation” webpage.
Read more about School Breakfast Programs and Successes HERE.
Katherine Baildon, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs