Breakfast in the Classroom - Frequently Asked Questions

1. “Time on learning” is a high priority for schools.  Won’t a classroom breakfast take time away from teaching?

Students can’t concentrate or learn when they are hungry. The extra time that it takes to serve breakfast can thus be seen as an investment in their education. Furthermore, breakfast can still be a very productive time, with students working on assignments and teachers taking attendance or collecting homework. Breakfast usually takes only 10-15 minutes in the morning and will ensure that students’ attention lasts until lunch. Additionally, research shows that eating breakfast closer to instruction time has a greater impact on student success.

2. My food service budget is extremely tight. Won’t this new type of breakfast increase my labor costs?

Labor costs don’t necessarily have to increase with BIC. Changing models often means different work, not more work. Enlisting the help of students to pick up meals in the morning and return the empty coolers reduces the labor needed to transport the food. Perhaps most importantly, breakfast in the classroom increases breakfast participation and with it, the number of federal dollars available to cover costs.

3. I am interested in implementing breakfast in the classroom, but how do I respond to resistance from teachers, custodians, and/or food service staff?

Any major change will generate resistance among stakeholders, yet these are the individuals who stand to benefit the most. Teachers, principals, and school nutrition directors all have unique concerns when it comes to serving breakfast in the classroom. Diminished time on learning, pest infestation, and additional labor are the typical reasons cited for not adopting this unique breakfast delivery model. But all three of these issues are avoidable.

Breakfast in the classroom is beneficial to all members of the school community. Teachers who were once skeptical of the program have explained that serving breakfast in the classroom actually saves time. Instead of arriving late to class when coming from the cafeteria or playing outside, students tend to come on time to get their breakfast. Additionally, providing 10 or 15 minutes for breakfast and morning activities gives students a chance to settle down and prepare for the day. Participating principals also find that more time is spent on learning since there are fewer disruptions from students misbehaving or requesting to see the nurse. Finally, school nutrition directors acknowledge that they benefit financially from the program, as breakfast participation increases significantly.