Nourish Nova Scotia provides support through financial and educational resources to breakfast programs operating in Nova Scotia schools. The primary function of breakfast programs is to provide nourishment to students. However, breakfast programs can also provide opportunities for nutrition education, leadership, and socialization that can build knowledge and skills, relationships and self-esteem. Breakfast programs encourage community, parental, and student engagement and foster a culture of caring and well-being within the school community.
Starting the day with a healthy breakfast is important for many reasons. Breakfast improves nutritional status and supports healthy living, by providing approximately 25 per cent of daily nutrition needs. Studies clearly indicate that a healthy breakfast positively affects student performance. Well-nourished students are ready to learn, they have more energy, and are less distracted by hunger.
Still, many students skip breakfast - and for a variety of reasons. Poverty provides one explanation; however, an ample family income does not guarantee that children and youth will be well nourished. Students may not feel like eating when they first wake up. Early mornings and long bus rides may mean that some may arrive at school hungry even if they have eaten before leaving home. In many homes, both parents work, and often students are required to look after themselves before school and may lack the skills needed to provide nutritious meals for themselves.
School breakfast programs are not intended to replace nourishment at home, but rather to support parents and guardians who are the primary providers. Children and youth spend a large part of their day in school, which makes schools an important environment to reinforce the connection among nutrition, health, and education. The availability of school breakfast programs increases the likelihood that students will eat breakfast and, in turn, improves their learning.
As Nourish Nova Scotia grows, it is our intent to offer funding to other school/community based nutrition programming such as cooking skills, edible gardens, lunch and snack programs. In the meantime, Nourish Nova Scotia continues to support these initiatives through education resources.