Research Journey – The Effects of Poverty during Early Childhood

The School Breakfast Program has been a long-standing federal program that monetary assistance for public schools and childcare facilities to operate non-profit breakfast programs.  Just recently at my son’s school located in the southern portion of Princes Georges County in Maryland, they took the program one step further.  Regardless of whether the student is participating in subsidize breakfast or lunch program, breakfast is free everyday for every student in attendance.  Each morning every student would stop through the cafeteria before proceeding to their classroom to retrieve a breakfast if they chose to and have their meal, with their peers, in their respective home room.   By offering to every student, it immediately took away the stigma and embarrassment of those who received subsidized meals, those whose families were to embarrassed or proud to ask for assistance, and those children who may have simply not had time to eat or forgot to eat.

“Breakfast in the classroom” (Maryland Hunger Solutions, 2012) showed improvement across the state of Maryland for the school year 2010-2011 with an increase of almost 9,000 students receiving a healthy breakfast at school.  Even with this rise certain counties, like Baltimore County, Montgomery county and Prince Georges County where the state has more urban communities, continue to fall below the state level.  With the state legislative and school board supporting programs such as Breakfast in the Classroom and the First Class Breakfast Initiative, Maryland children will receive a healthy breakfast, the fuel they need to engage their minds and bodies in learning and play.  It’s one small way we can combat the effects of poverty plaguing our young children.




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