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I am in a small setting. at the moment children sit down together and have snack. I would like to introduce a rolling snack time as I am fed up with packing away everythimg just as the morning reaches a peak. this routine was adopted when I arrived and the parents are very happy with it.

I just don't like the way children have to put everything away and drop what they are doing .

 

How could we manage this with only 2 members of staff, as one member would have to supervise the snack so that it is shared out equally, leaving the other to supervise play and observations.

 

have you got any good ides on how i can introduce this without making too many changes and do you think the children will cope with the change.

 

this is all new to me but I know it would be better forthe children.

 

thank you

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How many children do you have each session. You must be very small if you only have 2 members of staff.

 

We have a rolling snack bar. The children help themselves to water from the water dispenser. Those that have milk have it in a 1/3 pint carton. The snack is placed on the table and the children help themselves and sit at the table with a plate. However this is all supervised by a member of staff.

 

You will be left with the problem that only one of you will be left supervisinig the children whlist the other toilets etc, and as we know this is not good practice.

 

We all used to sit together for snack, but the method we use now is far better. The children very quickly got used to the change and enjoy choosing for themselves when they will have snack rather than being told when to have it.

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Guest MaryEMac

I am in a smallish setting too and we don't have a rolling snack, it's mote of a flexible snack. Just before Christmas our ofsted inspector made positive comments about how we do it.

Basically we leave all the activities out that are on the carpet and just clear away the messy play to allow space for the snack tables. One of the staff gets the drinks ready, (the children bring their own fruit in named tubs so there is no snack to prepare) and someone else reminds the children that it is almost snack time so that they can go and wash their hands etc. They then come and pour their own drink and then are given their snack. Once they have finished they are allowed to leave the table. Most of the children like to sit down together but one or two like to finish what they are doing so they come when they are ready. We always used to clear away and all sit down at the same time and everyone had to stay at the table until everyone else had finished. When we looked at this it was obvious that the children were having to sit too long and became boredand started to mess about.

The children still get the benefit of some social interaction but without the long wait at the table. Also the activities are still there for them to access until the end of snack, when we add to the choice in the messy play area.

I didn't want to go the route of the rolling snack but felt that this was a compromise which in fact works well for us.

 

Mary

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We all enjoy our rolling snack bar. It does take a member of staff or as we try to do have a helper to supervise it. Is it possiable for an extra pair of hands to help you at the snack bar?

Ours was a complete mess to start with!!! but now that the children are confident in how to pour their milk into the cup and not over the table it works very well!!

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thank you for your replies. We have up to 16 each day.

Our children all pour their own drinks and pass the food to each other round the table so they are fairly independent but like you say Mary there is a lot of sitting about waiting for all children to finish before we can go off for circle time or story time or physical play etc.

The idea of getting up sounds good, I can think of one or two children who would gulp their snack down to escape but i suppose after a while would slow down.

I just wonder what is best as they do build up good social skills and communicate well with eachother while they sit at the table. it also gives us time to sit with the children and make observations on their PSE development etc.

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We have had a rolling snack bar for several years now.

We set it up at around 9.30 am and usually just move an activity onto the floor to make room.

 

Children sometimes help to put the tablecloth on and will carry the biscuit box and the fruit bowl over to the table.

They then fetch their name cards and place them on the table where they will sit. Off they go and wash their hands, come back and sit down. They choose whether to have a bottle of milk with a straw (opening it themselves) or a cup of water poured by themdelves from a jug.

 

Children are allowed one biscuit and one piece of fruit. We do have a variety of snacks such as toast which they can butter themselves, breadsticks, crackers & cheese, carrots, peas, baby sweetcorn and foods from other cultures such as poppodams, prawn crackers & naan bread.

 

Once the snack bar is opened, only 4 children can come at a time. They are encouraged to tidy up afterthemselves, putting apple cores etc into a recycling bin and the same with the plastic milk bottles.They post their name card into a box when they are finished so we know who has had it.

 

Generally we do not have to supervise other than to sort out spillages and maybe to start to peel a clemintine for a child.

We encourage independence from the start and usually find they learn from each other as they go along.

 

We recieve free milk and fruit along with some of the vegetables because we are in the grounds of a primary school.

 

Learning the snack bar routine can take some children longer than others but the majority of new children who started two weeks ago are now accessing it independently.

 

Ofsted were particularly amazed and pleased to see the amount of children who were able to look after their own needs with the minimum of adult supervision.

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we have got a very young group at the moment some just over 2 but I think I am going to give it a go and try out some of your ideas. thank you everyone for your help. :o

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We have lots of little 2 year olds and find the rolling snack bar ok but have had to adapt the amount of fruit etc that is available as they would eat and eat until it was all gone! We prepare lots before the start of the session and put it in a tub with a lid, left close to the snack table but out of reach. When the limited amount of snack has gone the littlies tend to drift away and find something else to do, whilst the older and wiser ones will come and point out there's nothing left and we then put out a bit more. So far its ok. The novelty of the water dispenser is gradually wearing off but we do have spills still but have put the dispenser in a deep sided tray with lots of paper towels to hand so they can wipe up their own spills.

 

Like most things it will probably be trial and error until you find what works for your setting.

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I'd say few the'rolling snack bar' like you would any other activity, ie: sand/water play, painting, playdough etc. Anything new will provoke keen interest at first, so as a staff team agree rules and boundaries of how the snack bar will work, to maintain consistent expectations, 'teach' the children these rules by role modeling, talking about it etc, then 'support' ( rather than think of it a 'control supervision') the children in accessing their 'new' activity.

Observe, review and adjust to childrens differring levels of ability ( ie: differentiatte) enable more confident children to support the less experienced etc and most of all enjoy the freedom of not being restricted to such a limiting timetable that you have now.

 

Have 'we can' rules, rather than 'do not' ones, ie: we can think about whether there is enough fruit for everyone before you eat your sixth segment of orange, rather than 'don't eat any more you've had enough' ( child thinks, well actually no, I haven't had enough, I'm still hungry, or I'm still enjoying the sensory taste and juice of this orange). The children will also learn to 'read' and 'control' their own appetites too. One thing I noticed after having the snack bar as an integral part of the session was that the children developed teir own individual 'eating' timetables, I could nearly set my watch by the different times different children would individually access the snack bar, choosing the same time every day. xD

 

Give the 'newness' to settle before deciding 'this doesn't work' don't have too many 'rules' to learn. Ours was basically must always wash hands prior to accessing the snack bar, to serve self using utensils and not fingers in serving bowls, to ask for help when needed but encouraged as much independence as possible, to clear up after ones self ( they washed up their cups and plates using a bowl and drainer provided nearby). Some children also learnt about specific foods they were not allowed to eat and adhered to tis because the 'reasons' were explained to them ( and they knew for example milk intolerance, drink milk you get upset tummy)

 

Good luck, and enjoy a relaxing snack, which reminds me, the staff helper should always 'sit' at the table and interact, not stand, hover and 'supervise'. :o

 

Peggy

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We have a rolling snack bar which is open for about 1 hour....we have a round table which can seat 4. One adult supervises the snack bar & have 2 children helpers to cut up the fruit.

Once the snack bar is opened the children can come when they like within the hour(or so) they find their name and post in the box. They have a choice of milk or water to pour themselves and a selection of cut up fruit to put on a plate. They sit at the table and when finished encouraged to put their dirty cup & plate in the bowl for washing.

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well, sounds like i'm the only one still going with the lets all sit down together system! All I can say is it works for us.............we don't clear everything away, just the table we're using for snack.in a world where many of our children don't sit down properly at a table with an adult, (or even just sit at the table!) I find it a really nice sociable time where we can all get together to share the food and some fairly quiet conversations! I was asked about this by our lead teacher, who told us 'rolling snack time' was definately the way to go, but I told her my reasons and she said 'oh well, as long as you can justify it to Ofsted, I guess it's ok' Now, why would I or should I have to justify it to the O people??

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I thought ratio of two year olds was 1 staff memeber to 4children ? How do you manage toileting if there is only two staff members , are your toilets in your main room.

smiles

I read her post to say that they have three staff - one to manage the snack and then two to manage the rest of the children and packing away etc. Might be wrong - wouldn't be the first time :o

 

Narnia: we still have a sit down snack and have no aims to change at the moment. Mrs Ofsted thought our snack was lovely - especially the lovely tablecloths, vases of flowers and children serving each other...

 

Maz

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We have the sit down together approach i work in a foundation unit and we use this time to have vertical groups we use the time to discuss manners, sharing etc after we have our story. I really enjoy this part of the day when the children get chance to have a little chat.

 

I am however aware that OFSTED seem to prefer the cafe system but we had our inspection last year and achieved outstanding so i guess they thought our way was ok too.

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In our setting (school nursery unit) the session continues as normal but an adult sits with children.Our children have particulary poor language skills so its a great time for the promotion and modelling of language and manners!! We put an interest item on the table for additional language stimulation.

The children have to get their own cartoon of milk, select and insert a straw and get the snack.When they have finished they have to clean-up after themselves and post their name card.We put a wooden number/shape on the table for self selection ie 2 pieces of apple,3 triangles of toast.We have a lot of children with medical problems so we have to closely watch the snack-lactose, nuts, PKU.We are very careful to check for nut and lactose in the items we give but the PCU child is more difficult.

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Hi

 

We have rolling snack bar ans it works for us, as time gone on we have made many adaptations by adding things and changing things - like tongs, childrens knives their own plates cups jugs and we are very much for making children independent and giving them time to come when they want and be as quick as they want. WE get it open early because we find it helps children who have no breakfast and are hyper or their performance is not as good as it could be because they haven't eaten yet. it takes an hou.

 

It really depends on your setting, staff and of course children. Ours are very good at serving themselves and pouring cutting spreading and just need little guidance.

 

To start with you may feel its not working but give it a go and time and think you will see a different

 

Good luck

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although we sit together, or children DO serve themselves their drinks, take the fruit around and butter (or honey/jam etc) their own toast ect, so I think it's the best of both worlds?? We have just bought a smoothie maker too, so we'll have lovely fresh fruit smoothies, which might encourage the couple of non-milk drinkers to try it! :o

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I read her post to say that they have three staff - one to manage the snack and then two to manage the rest of the children and packing away etc. Might be wrong - wouldn't be the first time xD

 

Narnia: we still have a sit down snack and have no aims to change at the moment. Mrs Ofsted thought our snack was lovely - especially the lovely tablecloths, vases of flowers and children serving each other...

 

Maz

 

 

 

 

we don't have a cloth, but we DO have fresh flowers, I think they're a very 'civilizing' touch! :o

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  • 4 weeks later...
well, sounds like i'm the only one still going with the lets all sit down together system! All I can say is it works for us.............we don't clear everything away, just the table we're using for snack.in a world where many of our children don't sit down properly at a table with an adult, (or even just sit at the table!) I find it a really nice sociable time where we can all get together to share the food and some fairly quiet conversations! I was asked about this by our lead teacher, who told us 'rolling snack time' was definately the way to go, but I told her my reasons and she said 'oh well, as long as you can justify it to Ofsted, I guess it's ok' Now, why would I or should I have to justify it to the O people??

 

We too sit down together or snack. We use a number pocket on the wall with all the childrens names inserted in. There are pictures of fruit, milk and water, which the children chose and place under their names. A staff member prepare the tray and at each snack time one child will give out the fruit the other drinks. We are only a small setting (18) and our space is limited. The messy room doubles up as our dinning room. We feel that not many children have the option to sit down for family meals and in most cases sit in front of the tv to eat or worse, walk around. We have had many comments from parent's about their child's eating habbits at home: "They won't do that for me", being the most popular. Sitting down at tables with a practitioner at each works very well for us. Yes tidying away for messy activities and then for snacks and meal times is time consuming, but everyone takes a turn. We have many children that would not move if we had a rolling snack, although it does sound like a good idea.

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