School board gets a glimpse of school breakfast

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Last week, schools all over the nation took part in National School Breakfast Week sponsored by the School Nutrition Association.

Debbie Purcell, the School Nutrition Director for Decatur County, showed school board chairman Sydney Cochran their in-class breakfast routine on Wednesday, March 8, at Elcan-King Elementary School in honor of school breakfast week.

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“I’m very impressed,” said Cochran. “The process runs very smoothly and gives the kids the nutrition they need to get their day started.”

While the children march to class, they walk past mobile stations manned by cafeteria staff. While they walk, students grab a fruit, a parfait, a whole grain biscuit, a whole grain pop-tart and a juice. Then, they continue their walk to class where they eat their breakfast and prepare for the day.

The classroom breakfast started in 2006 and is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture according to Purcell.

However, the effort to provide children with breakfast at school started long before that.

In 1966 the United States passed the Child Nutrition Act, which snowballed into what makes up school nutrition today.

“There has been research done that proves that there is a reduction in tardiness, a reduction in trips to the school nurse for headaches or stomach aches when children participate in the school breakfast program,” says Purcell. “It is the most important meal of the day, it gets the mind going and ready to learn.”

The breakfasts always place emphasis on the student’s nutrition. The meals are low sugar, whole grain and low sodium according to Purcell.

The students are not the only ones to benefit from this breakfast arrangement however. The teachers at Elcan-King have a room full of children ready to learn after their meal.

“The kids are there in their seats when the bell rings,” said Purcell. “They’re ready to learn, they’re settled down and they get extra homework time if they need it.”

With a smooth operation and a proven positive outcome, the school board has something to be proud of on National School Breakfast Week.

“I am very proud that we can take care of our kids like this,” said Cochran. “They (the staff) have done a wonderful job preparing everything for the students and giving them the best chance to succeed in the mornings.”