Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) is a US programme in which all children receive breakfast while teachers take attendance, check homework, and prepare for the day. In a recent post by Child Trends’ Brandon Stratford and Michael Bradley, the authors described a study they did regarding the successes and challenges of implementing the Breakfast in the Classroom programme, where they found an important and unexpected finding: BIC provided opportunities for students to develop their social-emotional learning skills.
In the spring of 2018, Child Trends administered a survey that was completed by 368 individuals working in school districts in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Texas. The survey covered topics ranging from respondents’ attitudes before starting BIC to the barriers and successes they experienced. Child Trends also conducted site visits in the spring and autumn of 2018 in three school districts, visiting six schools altogether, and carrying out in-depth interviews.
Findings showed that BIC time allows students to socialise with peers, develop positive relations with school staff, and also take on responsibilities and manage frustrations that come with everyday tasks like cleaning spills. It provided opportunities for staff to model caring and empathy during students’ informal conversations. The authors related these findings to the social-emotional learning competencies identified by CASEL (the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) as necessary for social, emotional, and academic development.
Source: Successes and Challenges Among Schools Receiving Support from Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom (2019) Child Trends