This year, the staff at Nesbitt Elementary School in Montreal, Quebec, decided to break the routine of serving cold breakfast food items that they had adopted while COVID-19 restrictions were in place. They wanted to see if they could switch back to a hot breakfast while maintaining an in-class service model.
In September 2022, Nicholas Romano, principal of Nesbitt Elementary School, approached breakfast program volunteer Francesca Lasala to discuss the possibility of offering students a hot breakfast. With Francesca’s open-mindedness, determination and strong team of fellow volunteers, they were able to change their menu while still serving breakfast in class.
With the support of Principal Nicholas Romano, Francesca Lasala and her team of volunteers came up with a menu featuring waffles, scrambled egg tortillas and grilled cheese sandwiches. The breakfast is prepared before school starts and then delivered to each classroom by bin while everything is still warm.
The team has gotten off to a great start thanks to volunteers Danielle, and husband-and-wife pair Claudette and Denis, who have been helping out for a few years now. Randstad employees are also pitching in this year by sending employees to volunteer every two weeks.
When asked for advice about getting enough volunteers, Francesca said, “Send an email to parents! Try it! You just need to stress that their presence needs to be consistent.” Francesca also creates a positive climate for her volunteers and puts a lot of effort into how the breakfast appears in the bin. As she puts it, “A good presentation goes a long way!”
Francesca sees the value in enriching the breakfast program as much as possible. “Before entering the classroom, the students can already smell what’s on the menu. They get so excited about it!” she said, adding, “The most rewarding thing for me is having the kids say ‘thank you’ during the day. Once they came to the breakfast room while I was cleaning and a girl said, ‘Thanks for everything you do to make sure we eat in the morning.’”
Advice for switching to a hot menu
The Nesbitt teachers agree: breakfast in class is no different from snack time. It’s a calm period during which students get the chance to start the day with a healthy meal. It gives teachers time to look at their agendas for notes or end-of-day changes. They all have their routine, clean up their spaces and bring back the class bin.
If you need support, talk to your BCC coordinator! At Nesbitt, Francesca worked with her coordinator to adjust the original menu of pancakes and oatmeal, which they could sense might be too much to manage all at once, to something that was more manageable but just as delicious and nutritious!