One great way to show appreciation to teachers is with a continental breakfast. Of course, full breakfasts can be wonderful, too, but it’s more challenging to serve without the proper equipment. After all, nobody likes cold eggs!
The continental breakfast ideas for teachers below are simple and will be well received.
Whether you are room parents, a PTA, or a community partner like a church or business, hosting a delicious continental breakfast is a surefire way to boost teacher’s spirits. It can also be great advertising for your business! Feel free to leave business cards wherever you set up, which is likely to be in the teacher’s lounge.
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Meal Plan for a Continental Breakfast
A continental breakfast is easy to serve because you can visit the grocery store several days in advance and store everything in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve. Here are some good ideas.
I included many options for you, and you won’t need to do them all. Still, consider a range of options and be sure to include some healthier choices in the mix.
- Orange juice
- Bottled waters
- Assortment of teas
- Dairy and Non-Dairy creamer
- Fresh fruit – consider serving whole fruit items, which are easier to transport back to the classroom
- A dozen bagels or more
- English muffins
- Toast – white and wheat
- Gluten-free bread option
- Butter, honey, cream cheese, and jams/jellies
- Assorted cereals
- Milk and Oat milk
- Dried fruit
- Greek yogurt, regular yogurt, or parfait bar
Supplies for a Continental Breakfast
- Toaster(s) on site with an extension cord
- Encouraging welcome signage
- Plates and bowls
- Solo cups
- Styrofoam coffee cups with lids
- Electric tea kettle
- Coffee straws
- Food labels/tents – ff your campus is a dual language school, it can be respectful to use Spanish translations on all your written items, as well
- Room decor if applicable (tablecloths, centerpieces, etc)
- Punch Cards or Coupons – If you’re a local business looking to drive sales, you can set up a tidy little stack of punch cards or coupons for teachers
- Music and bluetooth speaker if setting up in a teacher’s lounge
Breakfast Menu for a Full Breakfast
For a full breakfast, you can have any of the above items, but aim to make the meal a bit heartier. This can be challenging because you likely won’t be able to use the school kitchen for preparing everything. Here are some ideas of what else you can bring.
- Egg casseroles – these are a good option because they can be cooked that morning and transported in a casserole carrying bag to keep them warm. Most teachers will have a microwave in their room to reheat as needed.
- French toast or pancakes – griddles are easier to transport than many other things, so a French toast or pancake bar can be a fun idea. However, you’ll want to think through this carefully to ensure everyone can be served reasonably quickly. Schools are run on military precision! Not to mention, French toast can be pretty messy, and so are pancake batters.
- Smoothie bar – many teachers take their health pretty seriously and may enjoy having a healthier option.
- Breakfast tacos or burritos – these can be very easy to prepare in advance, wrap in foil, and then kept warm in a casserole pan.
Challenges to Consider
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but a school teacher’s day often starts around 7:00 am in many parts of the country. It can be tough for teachers to have enough time to eat a proper meal and start their day off right, but it might also be challenging to get volunteers there before the start of school.
However, if you set up your breakfast in the teacher’s lounge, many teachers will be able to swing by and grab something between classes or during their planning period. Keep reading below to learn more about delivering your breakfast choices on a cart, too.
Be mindful that the school principal will likely want to open the breakfast to the entire staff if you offer one. That would include TAs, special educators, student teachers, interventionists, and more. So before you commit, make sure you know how many you’ll serve and create your budget to make sure it’s affordable for your organization.
When to Host a Continental Breakfast for Teachers
Consider serving a continental breakfast for Teacher Appreciation Week, Back to School, professional development days, special holidays, mid-October, or mid-February.
Here are the reasons why these times of year can be helpful to serve.
Remember, you can also use these times of year to build a theme for your decorations (if using) and food choices.
1. Teacher Appreciation Week
If you live in a community where the local school gets lots of parent support and has a strong PTA, getting involved in Teacher Appreciation Week can be overboard. You can reach out to under-resourced schools and make a big difference there instead. At our school, our principal is constantly hoping that community partners will ask to serve our teachers because parental involvement is a challenge and we do not have an active PTA.
2. Back to School
Teachers often feel overwhelmed in the first few weeks of school as they get to know their teachers. This can be a good time to encourage them for the year ahead.
3. Professional Development Days
While some principals may have budget money to treat teachers with a nice breakfast or lunch during professional development days, that’s not common. Ask your school principal if you can bring a meal. Most teachers will be otherwise spending their own money or packing a lunch. PD days are a great time to get involved because you don’t run the risk of interrupting instruction, and sometimes teachers are given a bit of time to enjoy a meal together.
4. Special Holidays
You will want to avoid getting involved in Halloween, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day at any elementary school. Because of class parties, teachers will likely be too overwhelmed with extra responsibilities to even appreciate your kindness.
Instead, on those days, consider partnering with a classroom teacher to support what she’s already doing. Still, you can make use of lesser celebrating holidays and give your breakfast a fun theme.
5. Mid-October and Mid-February
Every school principal can tell you which times of year tend to be most challenging on their campuses and when morale tends to dip. On our campus, it’s regularly mid-October and mid-February. Those are times of year when our whole campus could use a pick-me-up.
Don’t assume those dates are good for your principal, but find out when teachers need the extra love from their community. You can really make a difference by showing up at the right time of year.
Continental Breakfast Themes for Teachers
If you can’t resist the urge to add some “cutesy” to your continental breakfast, here are some fun ideas.
6. You “Donut” How Much You Mean to Us
If you’re looking for a low-budget and easy to plan breakfast treat, consider delivering donuts and coffee on a rolling cart. It’s also very easy right now to find donut-themed paper plates and decor.
Make sure to add a bit of fun and go beyond just glazed donuts. Half the fun is letting teachers choose their preferred donut option!
7. We “Cereal-sly” Appreciate You
Cereal bars can be a really unique way to celebrate, plus the play on words is fun. Be sure to bring lots of choices if you go this route – including some healthier options. You might think about serving out of solo cups just to make your snack more portable.
8. You’re an Eggcellent Educator
If you’ve got the budget for a full breakfast bar, this is a cute theme. As the time of this writing, eggs are extremely expensive here in the USA!
9. “Taco-Bout” Amazing Teachers
Here in Texas, breakfast tacos are a go-to staple for a hearty breakfast. Our teachers would be thrilled to stop by the lounge for a breakfast taco.
10. A Start-Your-Day Parfait Soiree
If you want your teachers to feel extra fancy and spoiled, this is a cute theme to try. Check out this recipe for make-ahead parfaits.
More Continental Breakfast Ideas for Teachers:
If you’re interested in more ideas for supporting teachers and partnering with local schools, check out the following options.
11. Catered Breakfast
Sometimes it’s easier to order a catered breakfast for a school staff. After all, you can hire the pros and achieve the same thing at a slightly higher cost. After all, there’s less room for mistakes and it would certainly be less stressful if your organization can afford this option. Also, it’s worth mentioning that some people get a little nervous about homemade treats. If you choose to cater something like a Chick-Fil-A breakfast, you may find a more enthusiastic response. On the other hand, there’s something very sweet about a DIY approach, so you can’t really go wrong.
12. Cart Delivery
The best way to ensure that every teacher in the building is served is by delivering the food directly to their classroom on a rolling cart. These are the same carts that used to transport tvs back in the dinosaur age. Now, carts will often be used throughout the building for moving books, copy paper deliveries, or on class party days.
Consider scaling down your continental breakfast so that everything will fit on one rolling cart. Many teachers will be thrilled to be offered a simple coffee or tea and a donut or muffin. You can easily fit those items on a rolling cart, and serve one hallway or grade level at a time. All across the United States, classroom doors remain locked at all times. You will need to politely knock on each door to be granted access.
This is a wonderful option because teachers can receive their little treat at the beginning of the day without ever having to leave their classroom. Teachers don’t usually mind being interrupted unless they are testing students. Just don’t stay long; offer up the treat and then duck out quickly so you don’t disrupt learning.
For an extra touch, consider bringing some helium balloons to tie to your cart.
13. Food Truck
A food truck with yummy treats or breakfast tacos is such a luxury at school! You can pay to set up a food truck in the school parking lot and stay for several hours so that every teacher can pick up their free taco or treat during their conference period or at lunch. Your campus principals can let you know how many hours the truck would have to stay parked in order to serve everyone. This is another option that can be donated, and your school principals will still let the staff know that you sponsored the truck.
I hope these continental breakfast ideas for teachers inspired and prepared you to make a difference at your local school. Teachers definitely need the extra love these days, so it’s wonderful for communities and individuals to partner in support of our educators.