this morning, i had the opportunity to meet up with some fantastic women from and affiliated with valley of the sun united way to go on a tour of a local elementary school which participates in the breakfast in the classroom program. we met with the kitchen crew to see how they prepare and organize the food. we strolled through the school halls and admired the art work and creativity and achievements of the students. we talked with teachers and members of the administration and asked questions. and then, we observed breakfast in action.
what an eye-opening and encouraging morning. what a kind and generous and dedicated school staff. and oh my goodness, the kindergarden teacher we met with was a rockstar. she was ON IT, let me tell you. i was exhausted by simply observing her in action for five minutes. she was organized and passionate. it was clear that she wanted to teach EVERYTHING to these children. to shape their young minds. to give them the best start possible. shaping their futures. molding and moving them to become courteous young people, hard-working students and workers, upstanding members of society, active participants, sharing and caring friends, leaders in their homes and communities and workplaces. i know that she is one of SO MANY teachers out there who are giving their hearts and minds and lives to this great cause of teaching the next generation of citizens. i was so moved watching her do her thing - and watching the kids respond.
she said that before the school instituted the breakfast in the classroom program, many children would show up to school hungry and irritable and low-energy. it took her a good amount of time to get the classroom to settle in and focus on their activities, and that made her job that much tougher. i mean, i imagine that teaching and engaging 20+ kindergarten kids would be challenging enough* but when they are starting the day running on empty, that must be miserable for everyone.
* seriously. teachers. all the rounds of applause and standing ovations and fist bumps and high fives for you. i marvel at how you do what you do with such heart and with far too little reward or recognition.
since the school has started serving breakfast in the classroom, the kindergarden teacher shared with us that she has noticed improvement in her classroom. it ensures that children start their day on the right foot. they get some nutrition and fuel. it allows them to interact with friends while they eat together. it provides a meaningful transitional time as well. they get to ease into the day instead of going from the playground right into a focused learning environment. the teacher can use breakfast time to organize and prepare the class and conduct administrative duties. and the students can wrap up their social time and get situated while they eat and listen to announcements, before formal instruction begins. makes sense to me. oh, and the teacher also said that she likes to use this mealtime as a teaching tool for etiquette and motor skills. children learn to wash their hands before eating, to sit properly in their seat, to use a napkin, to say please and thank you. the kids learn how to open containers properly, eat and drink in a well-mannered way, and clean up after themselves. simple and practical life instruction that some may not be receiving elsewhere.
i've said it before, but i love the heart of this program. so many kids and families (gosh, and teachers) need this. sometimes, it is really about small tweaks that can have a huge and lasting impact. you can learn more about the breakfast in the classroom program here and if you would like to support the breakfast in the classroom program, you can donate here.
and for you arizona ladies...don't forget that ONE WEEK FROM TODAY, i have the honor of hosting a table at the we are united event and would love to have you join me! i have a few seats still available at the table and would so enjoy and appreciate your being there to learn more about some of the great things valley of the sun united way is doing in our community! plus, all the proceeds go to the breakfast in the classroom program.
>>> RESERVE YOUR SEAT HERE <<<
again, my thanks to valley of the sun united way, it is my pleasure to partner with you. learn more about valley of the sun united way and stay connected to them on instagram + facebook + twitter @ myvsuw