Tips For Planning Your Intergenerational School
Downloadable Word Version [104kb]
Defining Program Size and Scope
Materials available for the ISBP are best suited for pre-K through third grade.
Schools may decide to use existing staff, parents or grandparents of students to staff their program, or they may work with an outside agency to recruit seniors or other volunteers for the program.
If your school decides to use the materials during the school breakfast program and plan to use volunteers, it is recommended that you review the volunteer sections before you proceed.
When evaluating a school for participation in the program, consider the following questions:
- Does the school have an existing breakfast program?
- Does the school have a breakfast period that lasts at least 30 minutes so that there is enough time for the for volunteers and children to become acquainted?
- Does the school have a before-care program that can be used?
- Is the school able to host an introductory meeting for the volunteers and the students to introduce the program and answer questions?
- Can the school gain the cooperation of the food service vendor to provide a free breakfast for the volunteers? (This is an allowable expense according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture)
- Is adequate parking available for volunteers in the neighborhood?
- Can the school take on the responsibility of recruiting volunteers?
- Does it recruit volunteers now?
- Is there a similar program in place already?
- Does the school need to get the permission of the Superintendent of Schools (or other administrator) before launching a program?
- Does the school require background checks or medical exams for volunteers?
Click here for a Sample Self-Assessment Form [Word 30kb].
The Intergenerational School Breakfast Program can be run in one of three formats: cafeteria-style, classroom-style, or dedicated space.
Cafeteria-style. In cafeteria-style programs, students are seated in groups at large tables. They may be served their breakfast or they may need to get breakfast themselves from a window, line, or station at one end of the cafeteria. In this format, volunteers may interact with several students seated at one table. Teachers assigned to breakfast duty, aides, or cafeteria staff may assist the volunteer in this setting.
Classroom-style. In a classroom-style program, students are generally served their meals at a desk or a table in their classroom. In this type of program, it is important to be sure that the volunteers have a comfortable place to sit near the children. The classroom teacher will be more involved with the program in this setting. Also, the volunteer and supervisor should coordinate a clear ending to breakfast activities in order for students to shift gears to their daily classroom activities.
Dedicated space. In some schools, it may be possible to dedicate a room to the breakfast program. If the school has a room near or adjacent to the cafeteria, this format may work. Students and volunteers can interact with the supervision of a teacher or aid with a minimum of disruption from noise and non-participating students. Breakfasts are brought to the space by the students or a server, and the volunteer can interact with the students throughout the breakfast and activity period.
Alternative Use of ISBP Materials
If for any reason this program would not be suitable for your school to conduct during the breakfast period, consider the following:
Have volunteers or staff use the materials and read to the children as part of a before- or after-school program.
Integrate the books into your school curriculum.
Use the Growing Vegetable Soup book as part of the Science curriculum and have the children plant vegetable seeds. At the end of the year make vegetable soup from the recipe in the back of the book.
Use the I Think I Forgot Something book to support the importance of eating breakfast. This book as well as One Hungry Monster and Gregory, the Terrible Eater also support integrated curriculum concepts such as:
- Language Arts-active listening, responding, following instructions
- Social Studies-developing self-help skills
- Character Development-self-responsibility, thankfulness
Use the Eating the Alphabet book to support:
- Letter and color recognition
- Fruit and vegetable recognition
- Cultural foods
The You Are What You Eat book can be integrated into a health curriculum and supports teaching children about the Food Guide Pyramid, healthy snacks, eating a variety of foods and staying active.
The Wheat We Eat book teaches children about what bread is made from, what wheat is, and how it is grown. Children could make dough as part of manipulatives or actually make bread (science) that they eat with cheese at snack time.
The Feast For 10 book supports concepts such as counting, teamwork and family dynamics. The book is about how an entire family participates in the meal from grocery shopping to food preparation, enjoying the family meal and clean up.
Roles and Responsibilities
The key responsibilities for the school and staff may include:
- Performing a self-assessment to determine the school's suitability for ISBP. Notifying appropriate school employees about the program.
- Securing locations in the school for the program.
- Recruiting, interviewing, and training all volunteers.
- Orienting the volunteers to the school's procedures, policies and regulations.
- Providing introductions between the school principal, teachers, cafeteria staff, volunteers, and children.
- Providing the volunteers with a free breakfast, if desired, and a parking space, if possible.
- Assuring the volunteers that they are not responsible for disciplining students or replacing school staff.
- Accepting the volunteers as members of the school team in regards to the breakfast program.
- Maintaining contact with volunteers during the program to identify any problems and ensure that the program runs smoothly.
- Recognizing and rewarding all volunteers with certificates or other commemorations (recommended).
- Completing periodic online evaluations (required).
The Role of the Volunteer
Volunteers are the backbone of the Intergenerational School Breakfast Program
The key responsibilities for a volunteer will include:
- Being a mentor, role model, advisor, and "Breakfast Buddy" to young children participating in the program.
- Attending training and orientation sessions to obtain information about the ISBP and the school.
- Being present on designated days or notifying the appropriate person of their absence.
- Inform the school of any sensitive information they become aware of regarding the students.
- Signing in, wearing a nametag, and following all school rules and regulations for volunteers
- Participating in the evaluation of the program if the school requests it.
It is recommended that the school assign a person to oversee the Intergenerational School Breakfast Program. This person can be a family or parent liaison, cafeteria leader, teacher, volunteer, or administrative staff person.
The ISBP Coordinator will act as liaison between the volunteers, the school, and any community partners. It is important that this "point person" be available to field questions, address concerns, and solve any issues that the volunteers may have with the program. Without this point of contact, volunteers may become frustrated, confused and disillusioned with the ISBP.
- To supervise the Intergenerational School Breakfast Program within the school.
- To assist with the day-to-day operations of the program.
- Recruit and interview volunteers for the school to ensure the success of the ISBP.
- Determine and carry out all requirements for volunteer background checks.
- Identify any procedures the volunteers should be aware of and provide them with written information.
- Participate in the evaluation of the program if the school requests it.
- Provide orientations and training workshops for current and new volunteers.
- Provide information to volunteers regarding time sheets, meetings, and school calendars.
- Maintain records on volunteer attendance.
- Develop working relationships with school administrators, teachers, and cafeteria staff.
- Supervise volunteers
- Act as a liaison for volunteers.
- Provide support, rewards, and recognition for volunteers.
- Collect information on the program and participate in the state's online evaluation.
Before recruiting volunteers, develop a timeline for an entire school year. This will ensure that the school has enough lead time to accomplish each task. Decide when to begin the program and then work backwards, covering these key milestones in the process:
- Register and order materials online.
- Download information modules from the ISBP web site
- Decide how to use the materials in your school.
- Secure whatever permissions are necessary for the school to participate in the program.
- Designate an ISBP Coordinator within the school.
- Determine the hours of operation for the breakfast program.
- Identify community partners (for example: senior center, volunteer center, YMCA), if any.
- Establish procedures for volunteers.
- Develop forms, flyers, and posters for marketing efforts if needed.
- Publicize and market the ISBP to the community, the school, and families of students.
- Recruit volunteers, have them fill out the information form, give them a copy of their job description, and do background checks (if needed).
- Set a date for the volunteers to start.
- Provide a training session to all volunteers
- First day of the program: Greet volunteers and provide an on-site orientation. It is important to provide volunteers with the following:
- Sign-In Sheet location
- Name Badges
- All books, activities, and supplies
- Six to eight weeks after start-up, schedule a focus group with volunteers, school personnel, and community partners, to see if everything is going well.
- Host a Volunteer Recognition Luncheon or Special Event at the end of the program to thank the volunteers for their time.
- Participate in a year-end evaluation of the program.
- Send thank-you notes to volunteers, school personnel and community partners and encourage volunteers to return in the fall.
Identifying Program Costs
It doesn't cost a lot of money to run the Intergenerational School Breakfast Program. But any type of program incurs some costs-whether real money or in-kind services. The following items are provided for consideration when planning the program. Many resources may already be in the school. Some of these items can be donated by local businesses or can be secured as in-kind services. Also, the school can seek cash donations and grants from other sources.
- Staffing for an ISBP Coordinator (the Coordinator may be a staff member who assumes the additional responsibility for the ISBP)
- Advertising to recruit volunteers
- Name badges
- Printing flyers and brochures
- Copy paper
- Telephone and minimal postage expenses
- Crayons, colored pencils and markers
- Volunteer recognition luncheon or special event
- Certificates for volunteers
Finding the Money
There are a number of ways to go about finding resources for the ISBP:
- Contact the municipality or county government to see if funds are available, and then ask for a small grant.
- Ask local businesses to underwrite the expenses.
- Contact local social and civic groups to raise money for the program.
- Solicit in-kind donations for expenses such as printing, office supplies, and materials (books, crayons, markers).
- Conduct a "sponsor a breakfast buddy" fundraising campaign.
- Contact area foundations to see if there are appropriate grants to underwrite the program.
There are three reasons why volunteer programs need to conduct evaluations:
- Program sponsors and partners may require evaluations.
- Evaluation is the only way to preserve what is good in a program and improve what is not.
- Evaluation is important for volunteer morale and performance
The ISBP Coordinator:
- Develops a plan for an annual evaluation.
- Uses the information gathered for future planning of the volunteer program.
Evaluation Requires three basic steps:
- Establishing standards.
- Measuring performance against those standards.
- Correcting deviations from the standards.
The evaluation should look at staff involvement, volunteer impact on the school, the children's response to the volunteers, recruitment strategies or any other components of the volunteer program.
Those who could participate in the evaluation process include:
- School principals
- Cafeteria staff
- ISBP management (coordinators, staff)
- Community partners
- Students (if appropriate)
The information may be gathered from surveys, questionnaires, observations, group discussions or other means. Once the data is gathered and analyzed, recommendations for future directions are determined. It is advisable to document and share findings and recommendations with appropriate groups within the program.
Click here for a Sample Volunteer Evaluation Form [Word 49kb].