Breakfast Pays Big Dividends in Boston Schools

In 2000, the Boston schools partnered with the Massachusetts General Hospital to conduct a study on the impact of the federal School Breakfast Program in 16 of their elementary schools. Researchers found that a simple breakfast of milk, juice and cereal provides a fourth of the breakfast delivery near me  Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of key nutrients needed by growing children. Breakfast reduces hunger in the classroom and improves the overall nutrition of the students. They found that student behavior and grades improved, especially in mathematics. Students were able to spend more time on tasks and were more creative. Attendance improved. Students demonstrated better concentration facilities and improved emotional functioning. Trips to the nurse’s office were drastically reduced.

Breakfast is by far the least expensive program for improving academic achievement, yet less than half the children eligible for the free or reduced price meals participate nationwide. One major obstacle is perception — breakfast programs are viewed as programs for the “poor kids”, a label many students wish to avoid. The other major obstacle is timing. Most schools across the country serve breakfast before the start of school — children who arrive late due to tight morning schedules or on buses that are late, miss breakfast.

Many of the schools in Boston have implemented innovative strategies to overcome the obstacles of perception and timing:

o Nearly 80 elementary schools now offer a universal breakfast — all children eat together for free. The “poor kid” stigma has been eliminated.

o Participating Boston schools make breakfast a normal and expected part of the morning schedule — no different than taking attendance.

o Boston schools serve breakfast in a variety of ways, using the method that works best for each individual school’s culture. Methods range from serving cold or hot food in the classroom from a cooler or thermal pack; grab and go, brown bag breakfasts; sending students to the cafeteria after attendance; or a combination of these approaches.

 Breakfast Pays Big Dividends in Boston Schools

In 2000, the Boston schools partnered with the Massachusetts General Hospital to conduct a study on the impact of the federal School Breakfast Program in 16 of their elementary schools. Researchers found that a simple breakfast of milk, juice and cereal provides a fourth of the breakfast delivery near me  Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of key nutrients needed by growing children. Breakfast reduces hunger in the classroom and improves the overall nutrition of the students. They found that student behavior and grades improved, especially in mathematics. Students were able to spend more time on tasks and were more creative. Attendance improved. Students demonstrated better concentration facilities and improved emotional functioning. Trips to the nurse’s office were drastically reduced.

Breakfast is by far the least expensive program for improving academic achievement, yet less than half the children eligible for the free or reduced price meals participate nationwide. One major obstacle is perception — breakfast programs are viewed as programs for the “poor kids”, a label many students wish to avoid. The other major obstacle is timing. Most schools across the country serve breakfast before the start of school — children who arrive late due to tight morning schedules or on buses that are late, miss breakfast.

Many of the schools in Boston have implemented innovative strategies to overcome the obstacles of perception and timing:

o Nearly 80 elementary schools now offer a universal breakfast — all children eat together for free. The “poor kid” stigma has been eliminated.

o Participating Boston schools make breakfast a normal and expected part of the morning schedule — no different than taking attendance.

o Boston schools serve breakfast in a variety of ways, using the method that works best for each individual school’s culture. Methods range from serving cold or hot food in the classroom from a cooler or thermal pack; grab and go, brown bag breakfasts; sending students to the cafeteria after attendance; or a combination of these approaches.

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