Breakfast in the classroom may have only started a few years ago, it depends on the district, but I am certain that many schools have implemented this now. No matter what city or neighborhood you live in, there will always be children who come to school hungry, it is just the world we live in. That is why breakfast in the classroom is so important. It is making sure that students have full bellies before they start school, which will encourage their success in school. These tips are incredibly helpful whether you are a veteran to breakfast in the classroom or if this is your first year teaching.
Breakfast In The Classroom
If you are a parent, you know that some school mornings can be hectic. Things happen, we are human. Regardless of what systems are in place, sometimes children don’t get enough to eat before school. Having breakfast in the classroom ensures that every child, no matter the circumstances, will start the school day off with food in their stomachs.
Expectations From The Cafeteria
Typically, the breakfast is prepared by the cafeteria and taken to the classroom. From my experience, this may include some sort of cereal bar or muffin, a piece of fresh fruit and a drink. Some expectations that I have been expected to follow, or that I have heard from other teachers are:
- If a child wants to eat, they must take all three items. This is still true even if they don’t eat all three items.
- Children can not take two, unless everyone has had a chance to get a breakfast.
- Students have the option to opt out of eating breakfast on any particular day.
- A form must be filled out to show how many students were present that day and how many students participated in breakfast.
- The trash can be put in the hallway trash cans, versus the classroom trashcans, to prevent food scent during the day.
- Some teachers I have heard had a cut off time where breakfast needed to be finished. Other schools offer a specific time to eat, but children can still eat during instruction and class time as well.
Managing Breakfast In The Classroom
It is important to have a plan ready before the first day of school, as breakfast will be served on the first day of school. Ensuring that children are given expectations and rules from the first moment is crucial. You can read more about my class management styles and using anchor charts to help teach rules here.
Here are some examples of expectations that you could consider:
- Once children have put their backpack and coat away, would you like them to get their breakfast or sit down until called?
- Will you allow your students to talk quietly or not?
- Will morning work be on their desks or to be picked up after they eat breakfast?
- Will you allow them to keep unopened food for a snack later in the day or any uneaten food must be thrown away?
- Will students throw the trash in a specific trash can? An when – as soon as they are done or when they are called on?
A few other ideas may include:
- Have a basket for unopened or uneaten fruit that children can take home or eat as snack later in the day.
- If you only allow your students a certain amount of time to eat and socialize, a 5 minute warning might be a solid idea.
- Cut paper towels in half and use as place mats.
- Plastic restaurant trays are also helpful.
Breakfast in the classroom is the perfect way to add additional classroom jobs. I am a firm believer in classroom jobs, because it gives children a sense of independence and responsibility. Some ideas for classroom jobs related to breakfast include:
- When breakfast is done, one or two students can be responsible for bringing the pack back to the cafeteria.
- Passing out place mats.
- If you wish, one person could pass out breakfast to the other students.
- Take the trash to the hallway.
While breakfast in the classroom might seem overwhelming and one more thing that you have to incorporate in your day, breakfast is such an important part of a child’s day. I hope these tips on managing breakfast and how your students can be included, will help you with breakfast in your classroom.