Bite-Size Report – Tremblay Elementary School shares the Club experience
In November 2014, the Breakfast Club of Canada proudly opened its 130th school in British Columbia (hello, Pouce Coupe!). As our family of clubs grows, we’re hearing more and more from schools who want to learn what our other partners are doing, so we can all grow together. We feel lucky to be part of such a collaborative community eager to share their best practices and do an ever-better job of teaching students about healthy eating habits through their breakfast programs.
In order to help develop these connections among our schools, we’re going to be starting a new project here on the Club blog: Bite-Size Reports! We will be regularly featuring schools within the Club network to share their experience with the rest of our community and show off the incredible, diverse range of contexts in which our partners work. For our inaugural edition, I’d like to take a look to northern British Columbia. We have been working with Tremblay Elementary School in Dawson Creek, BC, since 2010. I got a chance to visit Tremblay in November 2014 and had an incredible experience with the staff, volunteers, and students.
The club in Tremblay opened with 60 students in the autumn of 2010, but today they’re serving up to 100 students each day. For a school with 140 students, this means that having a healthy breakfast each morning is now the norm for the majority of this school’s population, which we love to see. Each morning, lifelong volunteer and chef extraordinaire Jenny Stevens arrives early to slice up fruit, set out yoghurt cups, and prepare a smorgasbord of egg and waffle English muffins, egg sandwiches, and whole wheat toast.
Because Dawson Creek in November can get rather cold (it was -25’c while I was there), students arrive in the morning bundled up in their warmest winter coat, big boots covered in snow. They stomp the snow off their feet, whip their boots off, and wander off to their classes, bare-footed and rosy-cheeked, to drop off their footwear. Once that’s been taken care of, they head straight to the foods room, where Mrs. Stevens is waiting with hot food and a warm smile (and a great apron!). These children know that every morning there is good food and a caring environment waiting for them, and you see it in their calm and friendly expressions as they politely line-up, say please and thank-you, and head to their classroom to eat with friends.
I asked Judy Eagles, the Vice-Principal of Tremblay Elementary, if she could share a few words for all of us. Here’s what she had to say:
The breakfast program here at Tremblay is in its fifth year. Every morning, after the bell has rang, students can make their way to the kitchen to grab a bagel, toast, sausage, eggs, fruit and/or yogurt. Jenny Stevens, who runs our hot lunch program, graciously volunteers her time to make breakfast each morning. Students line up single file in the hallway, and ask or point at the choice of food they would like for breakfast. It flows pretty good, but it is part of the culture of our school. Breakfast is important for all children so they have a good start to their day. It is especially important more so for some of our students who do not have the resources and support in the mornings to have a nutritious breakfast. They know that when they get to school there will be something to eat, and I think that it lessens their anxiety to some degree. The behavior levels come down when students have food in their bellies and the ability to concentrate on academics increases.
We’re thrilled to work with our partners at Tremblay Elementary and look forward to a long relationship of supporting student health and success.