Kindergarten

Full-Day Kindergarten and School Nutrition Programs

What School Administrators Need to Know

Full-day kindergarten students must have access to all school nutrition programs currently available in your schools including: breakfast, lunch and afterschool snack.

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 (MKMP) for classroom milk is available to full-day students. If your school has not applied for this program in the past, you will need to apply when you complete the annual renewal application for school nutrition programs. For more information visit Milk Programs on the Minnesota Department of Education website.

If you choose to participate in MKMP, encourage 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.

Additional students eating breakfast and lunch may mean additional equipment needs for food service and budgets. Your school nutrition staff can assist with determining equipment needs.

Arrange morning bus arrival times to accommodate breakfast. Consider offering breakfast in the classroom for your kindergartners to reduce transition time.

Lunch schedules will need to be adjusted to accommodate additional students. School nutrition staff should be included in these discussions.

Kindergarteners typically take more time to move through the lunch line and take longer to eat. Consider scheduling a longer kindergarten lunch period or schedule kindergarten as the last grade served.

Scheduling recess before lunch for kindergarteners helps to get the wiggles out and will make meal time more productive.

You may want to consider “Nutrition 101 Sessions” for kindergarteners which will allow them to practice walking through the cafeteria line before their first lunch experience. Nutrition 101 could be conducted as part of a kindergarten orientation program or the morning of their first day of school.

The Offer vs. Serve provision is optional for grades K-8. Offer vs. Serve requires that students select at least one-half cup of fruit or vegetable plus two other foods and allows students to decline foods they may not eat. You will need to decide if kindergartners will participate in this service alternative. Lunch service could be modified by waiting to implement Offer vs. Serve lunch choices to kindergarteners until after the first weeks of school.

Serving additional meals may mean increased food service staffing needs. Work with your school nutrition staff to determine if additional staffing will be required for your schools.

Cafeteria supervision staffing may need to be addressed with more meals being served and potential longer breakfast and lunch serving times.

Think about how kindergarten students will enter their 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 to become efficient. Consider having a card, craft stick or clothes pin with the PIN number written on it for students to take to the cafeteria the first few weeks of school.