Why Breakfast in the Classroom?
By Kit Hines, R.D., L.D., the Child Nutrition Director at Tulsa Public Schools
Kit Hines has worked for Sodexo at Tulsa Public Schools since 1999, in current role of Child Nutrition Director since 2010. She has worked in School Nutrition field since 1996. Kit’s education includes Bachelor of Science degree in Community Medical Dietetics. She is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian, as well as a member of School Nutrition Association.
Why does breakfast matter?
Breakfast breaks the fast. Breakfast is essential to start the thinking process in all individuals, but especially for children. When students do not eat breakfast, instead of listening and engaging in learning process, they are concentrating on their empty stomach and stomach pains. Instead of thinking about school lesson, they are thinking about when lunch is.
With breakfast at school, parents know that their children will get the proper nutrition they need to start their day off right and it’s a time saver in the morning as parents and students race the clock to arrive at school and work on time. By providing breakfast at school, the school takes on more of the responsibility of providing breakfast.
For students, it allows them to maximize their potential. More importantly, breakfast at school decreases the risk of hunger since 1 in 5 children is food insecure today.
What is the deal with Breakfast in the Classroom?
Breakfast in the Classroom is a program that allows students to eat their meal in the classroom after school starts. Studies have shown that more students eat breakfast if it is offered after school starts rather than only before school starts.
What makes TPS School breakfast work? How can other schools recreate your success?
The ease with which Breakfast in the Classroom is operated is what truly makes it unique. Cafeteria workers assemble the meals and place the appropriate number in a tote tray. Totes are picked up by a chosen student and taken to the classroom. Teachers insure the proper food is distributed to the students and a share table is designated where students can place unwanted food items which other students may have. Teachers provide the cafeteria manager with a completed tally sheet that indicates how many students ate breakfast.
Items such as spray bottles, trash bags and paper towels are included in the tote for easy clean-up. Students clean their own areas, adding a responsibility aspect to the program. And if a student arrives late to school for any reason, they can pick up a breakfast in the cafeteria. Totes, tally sheets and any unconsumed food are then returned to the cafeteria for proper disposal.
Many teachers are able to use the time for instructional activities such as reading and spelling.
In today’s fast-paced world we see times when there just aren’t enough seconds in the day. Parents are rushed to get children to school on time, schools fervently striving to improve test scores, and those families who struggle just to make ends meet and provide proper nutrition at home. This is why Breakfast in the Classroom is so important to Tulsa Public Schools.