Earlier this year we visited Woolmore Primary school in Tower Hamlets, London, and were met with a lively and thriving break-fast club. The dining hall was packed with 50-60 children, all having a great time.
Each morning, Breakfast Club Coordinator Tasneem prepares the tables for the club; books, board games and arts and crafts are all available for children to amuse themselves with once they arrive. With this finished, Tasneem turns her attention to the cereal bar, and together with Ambia sets out bowls of cereal, ready to be eaten by hungry children.
At 8.30 the doors open and the children begin to arrive, either grabbing some of the cereal laid out or queuing up for hot food, like bagels, toast and porridge.
Bagels are a big hit with everyone, and it’s the favoured breakfast of Areeje, Ruksana and Anisha all aged 10. “We always fight over who gets the biggest bagel,” says Ruksana, “and I got it today!”
Having first become friends at the club, the girls come almost every day for a chance to catch up and socialise.
Headteacher Tracy Argent told us about the difference the breakfast club has made, “since starting the Breakfast Club, we’ve seen attendance and punctuality improve greatly. Some children used to have problems even staying awake in class, but now they can come to the club, get a good breakfast in their stomach and have a much more productive morning.”
“We started off by charging 20p per child, but nobody turned up, so we decided to make it free for all.” It’s certainly made a big difference, with children filling up the dining hall every morning.
The club also provides a great opportunity to reach out to the school community with Tracy spending every Thursday morning talking to parents and children about anything which might be concerning them.
A recent and hugely successful innovation at Woolmore has been the set up of a family DVD club, which also runs every Thursday. Children and their parents are invited to subscribe for a whole year for just £5, and are then allowed to borrow a DVD each week for only 50p.
So far it’s been a great success, with 20 families signed up after only two weeks of running. One young boy, Hassan, was clearly delighted by it. He came bounding up to Tracy Argent with jotter in hand, “I’ve started a review book.” He proudly showed us his first piece, a re-view of Monsters vs. Aliens, complete with illustrations.
It’s not just watching a DVD, it’s a chance for families to enjoy an activity together. It’s also a great help with their reading, writing, listening, and even with learning English. - Tracy Argent
As the 9 o’clock bell rang, 60 happy children went off to class relaxed and ready to learn.
At Magic Breakfast, we are proud to support clubs like Woolmore, & we know that there are many more schools across the country turning fantastic ideas like the DVD club into practice.