In September 2010, our school received a new grade 2 special needs student. After a few weeks the teacher was regularly bringing this student to the office for refusing to do school work and generally not responding appropriately in class.
After attempting to talk with the student there was little response and the student presented as disinterested, unmotivated and unenergetic about learning. I asked the student if he had eaten breakfast that morning. He slowly nodded his head in the negative. I asked if he had brought a lunch. He nodded a quiet yes. I asked him to show me what he had for lunch. We walked to his class lunch bin where all the lunch bags are kept. He slowly drew out his bag and reluctantly opened it. Inside he had two crackers and a drinking box. That was his lunch for the day and recall he had not had breakfast either. That day it was decided that the nutrition program at the school would provide this boy with a free breakfast and lunch everyday. In addition the school already provided a free afternoon snack.
Within days this student became more lively and participatory in class. He began to smile and respond to the teacher’s instructions. Over the next few weeks his demeanour was cheerful and he became more actively involved as a learner. Within a few months his reading score had jumped two levels and he is still progressing well in building literacy skills. Nearly everyday he proudly comes to the office to read a new story. He has also begun to join in weekly school math challenges for his age group.
This is only one story of the positive effects a school nutrition program can have. Breakfast for Learning’s contribution to our school’s Nutrition Programs has made a huge difference for our students, such as this boy. To see a child transformed to a happy, productive student is highly rewarding and a gift in action!
We are grateful for the support which ensures well fed brains, bodies and souls!
Breakfast for Learning Nutrition Program, Toronto, ON