Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and thanks to the Breakfast in the Classroom program, thousands of Des Moines students are filling up before the learning begins.
“Last year at 11 o’clock, the kids would be saying ‘I’m hungry. When can we have lunch?’ Now with all the kids having breakfast available they’re not getting that. They have their full attention until it’s lunch time,” says Sandy Huisman with Des Moines Public Schools.
Studies show kids who don’t eat breakfast have shortened attention spans, low energy levels and tend not to be as productive. But now students at 12 Des Moines elementary schools are getting a free breakfast each day as part of the Breakfast in the Classroom program.
The program is different than the federally funded school breakfast program.
“The reality is even though schools are offering the school breakfast program, kids just aren’t taking part. Whether it’s just due to late bus schedules or just the stigma of just eating breakfast in school. So when you move it from the cafeteria to the classroom more kids are eating breakfast. We’ve seen participation go from as low as 20% to nearly 100%,” says Eyang Garrison, Food Research & Action Center.
The district plans to add three middle schools to the program in January.
Right now, about 5,000 students in Des Moines participate in the program.