How to Start a School Breakfast Program
There is no overstating the importance of childhood nutrition, especially with respect to its connection to educational performance. A child’s ability to concentrate in the classroom, process information, interact with students and teachers, and participate in recreational activities in the school are directly correlated to their nutritional intake. While it of course is ideal if all children were to sit down in front of a nutritious breakfast at home in the AM far too often family units are whisked from bed to transport to work/school with little more than a snack to get them started. Even if a complete breakfast is consumed prior to classroom arrival proper nutritional intake is still required after the first bell tolls to ensure alertness well into noon hour. Morning nutrition and education simply go hand in hand and many of you may be considering enhancing the breakfast programs, or instituting one, at your local school. If so, we at Plant A Seed encourage you to read further for additional insight.
5 Steps to Consider When You Are Interested in Starting a School Nutrition Program Near You
1. Identify the School, Grade Level, and Unique Nutritional Needs
The first step is to identify the educational institution that will be the subject of the intended program. Within this you will determine if the program will be slated for the elementary, middle, or high-school level, if not all of the above. Then, within this identification you will need to assess the unique needs based upon the demographics of the student population. These demographic identifiers include but are certainly not exclusive to family income, length of commute from home to school, and ease of access to other health programs. If these contingencies are not a matter of public record you may consider working with the school to develop a survey for students and parents to complete together.
2. Asses Level of Support from the School and School Board
It seems logical that school administrators would fully support the initiative yet the fact that you’ve identified the need for improved nutrition on-site via breakfast programs means there may be some red tape to cut through to get underway. Go straight to the local school board to find out what they will need from you, even before you prepare your official presentation. Any support that you can garner from teachers, coaches, and principals will be of great benefit. They have hands-on experience in working with the youth and can attest to the fact that students fueled by proper nutrition throughout the day, especially from the AM get-go, perform better and are more attentive within the class and gymnasium.
3. Asses the Level of Support from the Parents
Chances are that if you are interested in starting a school breakfast program then you are likely a parent. In that case rally the troops from the P portion of your local Parent Advisory Council (PAC) and prepare a petition to institute a nutritious breakfast program for your target school.
4. Determine School Reimbursements
Educators want what’s best for the children but all too often they are met with financial constraints that prevent them from putting the most optimum programs in place. Talk to in-the-know stakeholders from your local school to find out what their maximum reimbursement on costs associated with cafeteria expenditures are, to determine wiggle room, if any. This will not only let you know what options are currently viable, but will also dictate whether or not things need to be taken to the next level to help the school secure enhanced funding for the program.
5. Find a Foundation that Can Help You Facilitate the Process
Starting such an altruistic program of this nature can be a grand undertaking, one that can feel quite daunting from the minute you put the wheels in motion. However there are many support systems out there to work with you throughout the entire process. Perform research to find out if there are any national or localized foundations near you with a vested interest in nutrition programs as they apply to the educational systems of our youth. If you are looking to get involved right here in Canada we encourage you to contact the Plant A Seed Foundation to inquire about School Breakfast Programs in Canada. We look forward to hearing from, and quite possible working with, you.
Are you strapped for time yet looking to support local School Breakfast Programs via donation? Visit Plant A Seed Foundations donation page for options on how you can help.