Dear Editor:

Children who start their school day without a healthy meal are much less likely to have the nutrition they need to concentrate and learn. With growing poverty in New Jersey, “breakfast after the bell” is one of the most effective ways to battle childhood hunger

New Jersey school leaders who have implemented “breakfast after the bell” routinely report that student behavior improves, which means fewer classroom disruptions, making instructional time more productive for every student in every class. The state education department has also determined that breakfast can count toward the required instructional time.

We encourage leaders at Highlands school district to consider a pilot of classroom breakfast. Classroom breakfast typically takes just 10 minutes. Teachers across the state have found easy ways to incorporate lessons into breakfast time – or to tend to daily housekeeping tasks while children eat. In the Highlands, nearly 90 children from low-income families are not participating in the school breakfast program. Not only would these children benefit from breakfast after the bell, but the entire school community will reap the rewards of ensuring that every single child begins their school day with a full stomach.

 

Nancy Parello

Advocates for Children of New Jersey, Newark

Co-chair of the NJ Food for Thought School Breakfast Campaign