A dedicated Early Childhood Educator (ECE) at Académie Catholique Notre Dame (ACND) in Kemptville has made it her mission to make sure every kid at the school is properly fueled for the day. Louise Rauche started the breakfast program at ACND in November. The program is supported by Nutrition 4 Kids Leeds and Grenville, an initiative whose goal is to ensure that each child in Leeds and Grenville attends school well nourished and ready to learn. Nutrition 4 Kids is administered by the Upper Canada Leger Centre for Education and Training, which is in charge of running nutritional programs in Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott-Russell, Renfrew, and Leeds and Grenville.
Louise says they had the breakfast program at the school she worked at in Brockville, and she thought it would be a great idea to bring it to ACND. She knows how busy mornings can be and how difficult it is for kids to get a proper breakfast before getting on the school bus. “It’s one less thing for parents to think of,” she says.
Every morning, Louise welcomes students as they get off the bus into her classroom, where a balanced breakfast is waiting for them. The nutritious meal always has at least three of the four food groups and can include anything from cereal, milk and fruit, to wow butter and jam sandwiches. “I want it to be as filling as possible,” she says. Louise not only organizes breakfasts every morning, but also fills baskets of healthy snacks for each classroom to make sure the students are fueled throughout the day.
Since the program started in November, it has only grown in popularity. Louise now has around 30 students in her classroom every morning having breakfast, and even more are taking advantage of the basket of snacks in their classroom. “Kids are growing and hungry,” Louise says. “It’s a weight off parent’s shoulders to know they are eating well.”
Louise not only spearheaded the program at ACND, but also runs almost all of it herself. She says she has some help from the school daycare’s cook, Elizabeth Fleury, and sometimes the students help out as well. “It’s such an easy program,” she says. “It should be in every school in my opinion.”
Louise says that the breakfast program allows all students at ACND to start the day on the right foot. Not only are they getting a nutritious meal, but also some time to socialize before the school day gets started. “It’s my favourite part of the day,” she says.