Make Your Case for School Breakfast
Make sure your school offers — and students take part in — a school breakfast program for better health and learning. This Play gets students involved in showing the need for school breakfast, and encourages students’ leadership and communications skills. Students gain support from school leaders, parents, teachers and other school staff — and measure changes before and after implementation.
How Does It Work?
It’s a fact: students who eat breakfast do better in school. They can focus more, they do better on tests and they are more ready to learn than students who are hungry. Use the resources and information in this Play to get school leaders (like the principal), nutrition personnel (like those who work in the cafeteria), teachers and parents involved, and help get more students eating school breakfast.
- Improving Attendance, Health and Behavior: Moving School Breakfast Out of the Cafeteria. 2013. School Governance & Leadership. AASA, the School Superintendents Association.
- Starting the School Day Ready to Learn: A Position Statement. 2013. National Association of Elementary School Principals.
- Breakfast for Learning: Scientific research on the link between children’s nutrition and academic performance. 2011. Food Research and Action Center.
- Breakfast for Health: Scientific research on the link between children's nutrition and health. 2011. Food Research and Action Center.
Huddle up with your school nutrition professionals to help plan your presentations and develop strategies for improving access to breakfast; your principal and other school administrators to give your plans a thumbs up and help make changes; teachers to listen to your ideas; parents to support your efforts; and students to take your surveys and help with your efforts. Draft at least one member of each group to form a team.
Make Your Case
First, you need to build your case.
Review the research information and the resources available in Tools and Resources. Talk with your school nutrition professionals to find out what breakfast choices your school already has and how many students participate. Ask about improvements that could be made and talk about it with your team.
Create a survey for students to find out what keeps them from eating a nutritious breakfast every day. Then take those results back to your school nutrition professionals and talk about where your information overlaps with their ideas.
Show your stuff: Work with your school nutrition professionals to create a presentation that students can give to your school principal, classrooms, PTA meetings or groups of parents. Create “Brunch and Learn” events where classes within a grade level serve breakfast to parents, teachers, sports/activity coaches or a combination of adult audiences and learn how much fun it can be. Students can educate the adults on the importance of a nutritious breakfast, information about the ingredients they (and your cafeteria staff) used, why they used them, etc.
Get the word out: Meet with your team to plan school-wide activities and make posters, and create flyers to get the school board to start a breakfast-at-school program. Get the word out on your school’s website, blog or in your school’s eNewsletter.
- Consider creating an entertaining and informative video to highlight why school breakfast is a win-win for students, adults and the school.
- Ask your adult team members to help you arrange a presentation at a school board meeting.
- Invite supporters of Fuel Up to Play 60 to attend the meeting in support of your effort.
- At the meeting, emphasize your goals of promoting breakfast and its benefits to learning and long-term health. Explain how improving the breakfast choices at your school may lead to better grades, better attendance and long-term health and success for all students.
- Provide group members with handouts or flyers that share information about Fuel Up to Play 60 and the importance of daily breakfast consumption, using the Tools and Resources below.
Test one or more of the ideas in Breakfast – Anytime, Anywhere and track your successes. Take your results to your principal, the school board, a district food service meeting and even your local media to get the word out about your successes.
Keep It Going
Look for ways to keep this program going and build on it — the goal is to make real, long-term changes in students’ habits.
- Try out one of the breakfast-at-school programs.
- Meet with your team regularly to talk about progress. Poll students and teachers to see what a difference you’re making.
- Track participation and set long-term goals.
Spread the Word
Keep talking to people:
Get them on board to make a breakfast program part of your school’s (and district’s) long-term wellness plans.
Get Others Involved
Everyone can help:
- Create awareness materials like posters and announcements
- Provide supporters and key audiences with Fuel Up to Play 60 information
- Provide parents with information about the importance of breakfast
- Encourage parents to support breakfast at school