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Snack Time?


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I am interested if any one can share how they organise snack time, and particularly the idea of 'rolling snack time'

 

We all sit down at 10.00 and have snack together, but it can take a while and becomes a bit of a free for all.

I am in reception.

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We too have a designated snack time. We split the group into two. I agree it takes about 30 minutes in all for the whole 40 children to wash hands and have snack. I quite like the formal sitting down together. It provides a good opportunity for conversation and social skill development. we do allow the children to leave the table when their finished though as it takes some longer than others to finish.

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We have a designated time for snack. We split it into two - 3 smaller groups go first followed by the other 2 groups when first one has finished. We have tried rolling snack but both children and staff preferred our original way of having snack. There is plenty of time for conversation and social skills and the same as moomy, when a child has finished they can leave the table, as some children take longer.

 

Sue J

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we all have snack time together, haven't tried rolling snack bar so can't comment on how well it works. snack together works for us, can be a bit noisy sometimes but still an enjoyable time. mrsW

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We operate a snack bar where children too develop their social skills and hold conversations.

By using a rolling snack time children also have the opportunity to develop their independence and choices. They come into snack bar when they are ready and follow a simple routine find name card and post, wash hands, choose plate, snack and drink. They can stay and chat or choose more snack and leave when they are ready. It does not interrupt the flow of the session especially when a child is deeply focussed in their own activities. It takes minimum staffing just someone around to help top up snacks and encourage children who may be new and unsure of the routine. We are able to use snack bar to develop all areas of learning with chances to make their own snacks, try new foods, help their peers, develop their CLL, KUW and PSRN. When I first introduced the idea my staff were unsure but now we would never go back to snack time. It does take a little organising and an area in which to operate (table and chairs/ snack table) but it is well worth the effort. I would recommend having a go if you can as OFSTED have loved the snack bar at all our inspections.

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we are a pre-school and have tried the rolling snack time which didnt work for us.

we had one table where children could access snack over a given time however as we have several children with severe allergies we always had a member of staff at the table - we found that the snack time wasnt relaxed and worthwhile as the staff member was constantly up and down and the children were leaving and coming to the table which meant that no conversation / interaction was possible .

we have now reverted to having snack at the same time and love it - the children sit with key person and this is a lovely time for the children to become more familiar with others in the group - the keyperson is also able to get to know their key children anmd we find this a lovely time for everyone to chat and socialise.

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rolling snack

 

snack bar

 

snack time

 

snack

 

yet another

 

this is regularly discussed and a forum search highlighted the above...

 

not all reception but the same issues tend to arise.

 

I found snack bar as social as group snack time... they still sat together in groups, chatted and discussions same as before, just did not spend 30 - 40 minutes doing it, which we felt a long time for this age range . we had a member of staff at our table and it was accessible for about an hour, but it was often less if everyone had used it. Children came and went between doing other things and tended to spend from 5 to 15 minutes there depending on the child. they helped themselves to the snack on offer and drink, sometimes making the snack for themselves, I know some do it all the time , it really depended on children at the time.

 

Children were able to come when they wanted, or we reminded them and able to finish what they were doing before joining snack. we lost the long queue for toilet and handwashing, the children sitting at able waiting for others either to wash hands or finish snack...and overall it became a much more pleasant time of the day for all.

 

Inge

Edited by Inge
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We operate a rolling snack time in our nursery class and love it! One adult on a rota basis is responsible for setting it up and sitting and socializing with the children. It certainly still is a time for sitting down together, eating and socializing, just one table doing it, instead of several.

 

We have the free fruit scheme and small bottles of milk set out on the table. children go and get name, reserve a spot ( if no spaces they come back later), wash hands, them just help themselves. When finished they put fruit waste/skins in the compost bin, rinse out their milk bottle and put it to drain, and off they go the their play again. Snack table is open from 10 till 11. a bell rings to show everyone, inside and outside, it is open and then again when it is soon to close, so that anyone who hasn't been knows they need to come.

 

The children can come at a time which suits what they are doing and when they are hungry, therefore encrouraging them to think for themselves and respecting their CI activities. It gives much more time for exteded play. We always encourage, but sometimes the odd child does not want to come and thats fine by me - its their choice and it isn't long till lunch time!

It really works for us. Its great when you hear a group of children say, 'Come on! Lets go, the snack table's closing!!@

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I'm in reception and we do both. In the morning we have toast and milk all together and then after lunch from 1.30 - 3.00 I have ongoing snack which is usually fruit plus 1 other choice e.g. cheese and crackers, yougurts, malt loaf etc. The children love the ongoing snack and it is great for developing social communication. Have to admit it's hard work until the children are into the routine but after the first half-term we don't give it another thought. It is definitely something Ofsted like to see and in our inspection (2weeks ago) HMI liked the idea of operating both.

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I was preschool and did rolling snack time, some of my previous comments are most probably in the links Inge gave.

 

Amongst other things, I found that the children showed clearly that they had 'individual' body clocks, eating at different times but with observation noted that their individual times tended to follow the same routine every day ie: Sarah always as she entered preschool, Tom after an hour into the session, etc. In other words the children learnt to recognise their own 'appetites'.

Our children were very much involved in preparation of snacks, grating cheese, cutting fruit, making toast (served dry most days, cut up into cubes), sometimes knifes and spread was available (quite a skill at this age but manageable). The food was presented in self select bowls, milk & water in jugs, cups, plates and cutlery (knifes, forks and spoons) in a wheeled cupboard, next to the table. Children learnt the routine as a picture line was on the side of the cup cupboard. The children had access to a bowl of soapy water and small drainer placed on a table next to the snack bar table, where they washed their cups & plates when finished. (We did them again after).

 

We opened for the whole session 8:45 - tidy up time before lunch, food was removed 1/2 hr before lunch but drinks still available.

 

A great place for a new child to sit and look on during settling in, children would sit and socialise with their chosen friends (as we as adults do, when we go to the cafe :o ).

 

I had some children with allegies, but they were very aware of what they couldn't eat. I had a vegetarian child who's mother chose to provide her own snacks, and again the child kept to this. We viewed snack's as an 'activity' like any other, painting, sand, water play, etc, there were rules, boundaries and expected behaviour which the children learnt quickly due to the positive benefit of doing so. xD

 

What I would say is if you do introduce rolling snacks give it at least a term (previously known as half a term :( ) for the change to have time to 'settle' into a 'natural' part of the days activities. Initially children may eat everything at once, spill drinks etc, it just needs time for them to get to know how the 'system' works.

 

As a measure of ours success, it was the staff's favourite place to be with the children (although it can self manage once the children are familiar with it), for staff (and children) it was a relaxed, social, time where the had lovely conversations and observed lovely interactions between the children. Our children had the chance to sit as a 'family', full group at lunch times, so they had both types of 'eating' experiences.

 

 

Peggy

 

p.s. I a writing in 'past tense' because I have now closed my preschool

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This is something that we keep being encouraged to do but I can't see it working at a pre school setting like ours when we have children from 2 1/2 years and are just in 1 room. Some children would just stay there all morning whereas others might not want to come at all and how could we make sure the children had washed their hands without involving more than 1 member of staff. I know it means that their play doesn't get arbitrarily interrupted but we don't have a 'set' snack time - if most of the children are involved in something particularly interesting then we would be flexible about timings. I think having snack all together is a valuable time, the children learn social and table skills, they get to sit with different children not just their best friends and the adults sit and chat with them too. It doesn't have to take more than 20 minutes or so. At school they will have to learn to have break time when it is timetabled not when they feel like it.

 

I think you just have to do what feels best for your setting - we're all different. Yes, we've thought about it and decided not to do it so please stop trying to make us do it! :o

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We are a pre-school with three staff, children from 2 1/2 and just one small room.

We had been trying to get a more flexible snack approach working for a couple of years and tried many ways always going back to group snack until last year when finally it all fitted into place. We had been trying to do cafe style but found it meant a member of staff was spending up to an hour managing the snack and it was all go all the time..no time to be sociable - trying to get all adults a drink and cutting up all the fruit (as we used to with group snack) was just adding stress and we just couldnt do a cafe snack while keeping to our old ways..it needed a complete change.

 

So now we have a member of staff on snack rota who prepares the snack (cleaning table, counting cups, plates, getting jugs of milk and name cards ready) with a couple of children (also on a rota)...then once snack time is announced (using a bell) children can come and wash hands and get their cups / plates from the trolley and sit down at the table with a different member of staff who is on rota to support snack time.

Their job is to support children at the table, make sure they go and wash their hads first, distribute the fruit (easy as each child brings their own peice of fruit and eats that - we get them to record what fruit they bring in in the morning with parents) and encourage conversation. It means the children still get that social aspect we always had and they can choose to come and eat when they like and leave as soon as theyve finished to go back to play.

We do invite those who havent eaten to come before the cafe shuts about 30 to 40 mins after opening. Some children will choose not to come and eat at all and thats okay...they have access to their own drinks bottles so are encouraged to at least have a drink if not eating.

 

The staff who prepares snack is free to go off and support play again while the support staff member remains at the table.

We dont bother with getting hot drinks for adults - they can have one when the session is over or at lunch club and are free to have milk with the children anyway.

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Guest heleng

I am in Reception (and Nursery- we share the same class space) and we have a rolling snack bar in operation (9.30-11am and 1.15-2.45pm). The children wash their hands, find their names and choose what they would like to eat and drink. If they want milk they get it from the fridge. If they want water they pour it themselves. They can help themselves to fruit, milk and water as and when they want it and they can choose 1 additional item and this various from day to day. For example last week through out the week we had pancakes, cheese and crackers and malt loaf.

 

When they are finished they tidy up, wipe table if need be and wash up any utensils, bowls or plates they might have. It works really well as they are making choices as to what they want to eat and when they want it, by themsleves or with a friend/ gp of friends. There are always adults around to help with the washing and drying up and heating up if necessary for example when they have toast, crumpets, porridge etc. The children and adults talk with the other children who are there and I think for us it has been really successful.

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Hello all

Am really interested to hear how other people operate their snack time. Currently we all sit down at tables together. The children either have their milk or water and a piece of fruit.They pour their own drinks and share the fruit out.I feel it is a very important time.

My concern now is I am being pressurised to join the rest of the school for playtime after Easter and it has been suggested they take their fruit out with them like the rest of the school and have a quick drink before or after 'playtime'

What would others do?

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Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on making your first post (of many, I hope)

 

If you look to the top right of your screen you will see a sausage-shaped icon 'search forum posts' and if you input 'snack' into the box and search titles you will find a huge number of threads which have been discussed lately.

There seem to be a wide variety of methods out there, so you may find one or two which match your idea.

 

We always sit down for snack with Key Persons as we feel this creates a collective 'family' time and bonds the group more cohesively, which is really good for new starters.

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I read all the different posts on snack time before we started back in september last year. We decided as we had a morning and afternoon split and autmun children all day to have a snack cafe open between certain times. Thus giving the opportunity for the children to finish what they were doing and have snack. After christmas we continued but just in the morning - we were though now finding some children who slipped through not having snack even though we had made placemats and names to see who had had snack. After feb half term we have all sat down now to have snack together. I think it has worked well building it up and will probably do the same kind of thing come september.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We tried rolling snack bar for a year, and didnt find it as good as we had hoped.

 

SNACK BAR

Positives, children dont have to stop what they are doing, good independence, friendship groups sit together in social cafe style, children can eat when they like.

Negatives, many children dont want to stop playing and come to have snack if it isn't part of the routine, hygiene, are they REALLY washing their hands before, the mess of an unsupervised table (we were cleaning up well into our lunchtime), children not actually having snack at all, children will have a sip of milk then leave it there or throw it away, we were finding lots of wasted milk in bin and fruit left on table, floor etc. if you supervise it it takes a member of staff doing that all day and calling children to remind them - we have better things to be doing quite honestly. Eat on the run ethos is not really a great example to set.

 

SNACK TIME

positives social time where children talk to others apart from their best buddies - ones they might not mix with usually, reinforces their family group, a chance for a story or a chat about them too, a good routine which enables one member of staff to be free to clean up during the time, hygiene, yes they have washed their hands, MUCH more milk and fruit is actually eaten now - and it ensures they are getting their healthy snack, rather than the "bite and bin" trick because they can't make time. We are becoming a society of eating on the run and rarely making time to sit and eat together, so why encourage that in Early Years?

negatives, it is a directed time by adults rather than when the child wants it... er... they have to eat at a time they might not be hungry..? I was going to say less independence, but if you assign daily milk monitor/washer up and water pourer etc, it will actually be great for increasing their confidence.

 

We are therefore going back to snack time. Hurrah!

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Yeah but you know what... I saw the reasons to try it, and BOY we gave it a good shot.

Went through weeks of modelling how to use the area well etc. To be honest about 20% of the children did actually use it in the rose-tinted vision of how it should be. Another 20% never had a snack, and the remaining 60 % just made a huge mess, or did the sip, bite and bin technique. What a waste.

As professionals we can say we tried it, and then made a judgement based on its success. I will defend my decision, and when the pendulum of Early Years education starts to swing back the other way, and some bright spark comes up with the idea of "routine times to eat" (and calls it something all new e.g EYFS Time to Chew initiative, lol) I will have a head start. LOL

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great to read all the replys

 

I think i'm going to stick to my snack time, as half way through the year they are well into the 10.00 routine and seem to enjoy it too. we have helpers who give out the fruit and milk so I hope we have the self-sufficent box ticked. We conpost the fruit peel in our out door area, which they enjoy.

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