Full-Day Kindergarten and School Nutrition Programs

What School Food Service Needs to Know

Full-day kindergarten students must to have access to all school nutrition programs currently available in your schools including: breakfast, lunch and afterschool snack. Evaluate staffing needs due to the increased number of students eating breakfast and lunch.

Be involved with lunch scheduling in your school. Kindergarteners typically take more time to move through the lunch line and take longer to eat. Scheduling a longer kindergarten lunch or scheduling kindergarteners as the last grade served will allow students time to consume your nutritious lunch.

Full-day kindergarten students will not be eligible for the Special Milk Program, which is only available to students with no access to breakfast or lunch.

The Minnesota Kindergarten Milk Program for classroom milk is available to full-day students. Consider encouraging teachers to have their snack milk break in the afternoon. Students that participate in breakfast then have a morning snack may not be hungry for lunch.

Be involved with discussions about morning bus arrival times to ensure students have adequate time to eat breakfast. Check with the transportation department to determine if bussing schedules will need to change to accommodate full-day kindergarteners.

School administrators should be able to provide estimated enrollment numbers for full-day kindergarten students to assist you with forecasting food and supply purchasing needs.

Evaluate additional equipment needs for increased numbers of students eating breakfast and lunch (trays, pans, flatware, milk coolers).

Work with teachers and school staff to determine how kindergarten students will enter ID or PIN numbers in the lunch line. While kindergarteners are capable of entering their own numbers, it will take them some time and practice.

Put PIN numbers on a card, craft stick or clothes pin for students to take to the cafeteria the first few weeks. You can also print a list of PIN numbers by student’s first name for each classroom for Point of Service staff to enter numbers until students learn their PIN numbers.

To help students through the lunch line, consider “Nutrition 101 Sessions” for kindergarteners allowing them to practice walking through the cafeteria line before their first lunch experience.

If your kindergarten students will participate in the Offer vs. Serve option, you could delay implementation for the first few weeks of school until the students are comfortable with the cafeteria. You may need to explain the Offer vs. Serve option and the requirement for students to select one-half cup of fruit or vegetable to your school administrators to make this decision.

Modifications to meal service for the first weeks of school could include: placing flatware on the trays for students, limiting choices for the first few weeks of school, providing assistance with bussing of trays and having staff or parent volunteers available to assist with meal service and opening of milk cartons.