Each January Jan Murray, Education Officer at The Newbury and District Agricultural Society, spends three weeks visiting schools across Berkshire delivering breakfast workshops, promoting breakfast as the most important meal of the day and explaining how missing breakfast can impact on learning.
The workshops begin with making porridge and smoothies with the children and then they get to taste them. There have been many converts to porridge, with the pan scraped clean every time as the children asked for 'more please' as in Oliver! Next the children use some of their new-found energy playing games with a breakfast theme – Throw the Toast, Breakfast Tray Game, Coffee Bean Sack Race and Egg and Spoon Race, (but not real toast or eggs for the mess!).
This is followed by Buttercup, the Society’s wooden cow, putting in an appearance with a talk appropriate to the age of the children, so it could be the story of milk from the cow to the shop, considering the rights of the cow and looking at the Red Tractor symbol, or learning about Louis Pasteur and pasteurisation. And of course milking her!
Finally they plant wheat, oats and barley seeds to grow on at school or at home.
This year Jan covered 700 miles, working with almost 400 pupils in mainstream primary and special schools. She cooked up over 4kg of porridge oats and 14 litres of milk and used 30 bananas, oranges and apples in smoothies along with 14 litres of apple and orange juice. Despite the washing up, she will do it all again next year!