An invitation from Currie Elementary Principal Corinne Monger got me started on visiting a couple of the many “Breakfast Clubs” in Richmond elementary schools To be honest, what I thought I was going to see was not what happened – at all.
I was expecting these clubs to be small, low key, and mainly involving kids who don’t always get breakfast at home. What I saw in each case was a large, joyous, whole-community event in school gyms. Who knew? Clearly I need to get out more.
So what’s up with these Breakfast Clubs? Currie had a gym full of kids happily eating and being chatted up by Vice Principal Emmanuel Adjei-Achampong (aka Mr. A). The breakfast bowls pictured above held the main fare, with sides of toast, jam and many juice options. Staff, both current and retired, made sure the breakfast buffet was well maintained. The kids ate at tables set up in the gym, and the whole thing seemed like a very large lively family breakfast, except there were no arguments and miraculously, nothing was getting spilled, at least that day.
My next breakfast encounter was at Woodward Elementary. As I walked in the door, Principal Jane MacMillan was having a chat with a very little boy. It seems he’d taken flight from the Breakfast Club for reasons unknown, and Jane was was trying to find out what was wrong. She had several theories she ran by him:
“So, did you leave because the juice was too juicy?”
Apparently not, as he shook his head at that idea.
“Was the toast too toasty?” Negative.
“Were the kids too playey?”
No answer, but by this time he’s starting to smile, and he and Jane are both happily heading back to the gym for Breakfast Club, or “Play and Eat” (PnE), as it’s called at Woodward.
There’s a small and popular area designated for eating, but the main focus is on the playing. It seems as if all the balls, mats, hoops, nets and anything else play worthy are out, and the kids are having a grand time with them. While this may seem like a recipe for madness, there’s a definite method to it. Everyone shares, helps clean up, and perhaps best of all, they’re ready to settle into the classroom after an active session of PnE.
Breakfast Clubs are frequently funded based on donations from Parent Advisory Councils. Gilmore United Church also donates through their community-minded dream auction, held every December We’re very grateful for the help from everyone, and so are hundreds of happy children.