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Please can anyone share their routine for snack time, we usually just sit all the children down then delegate the task of giving out plates cups snacks etc.

But I dont think it is working and at our recent ofstead (dec 15th) she wasnt happy either said it had weaknesses.

Suggestions have been made as to a snack bar but i would love to hear any other suggestions.

:o:D

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hey- when did i become part of the furniture?

 

Did anyone notice? I've gone back to my usual avatar.

end of the holiday season. Getting back to business etc etc.

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Is anyone doing the kitemark scheme? Well in module 2 we were observed during our snack time and we put out milk and water and the children pour their own choice of drink. We then rotate the snack on a four weekly rota so, if we are having e.g fruit we encourage the children to cut their own e.g bananna with a child's knife. We are working towards setting the snack table up first thing when the children arrive so that they can help themselves when they want. Not sure if this will work but this is what my quality mentor wants us to do to give the children more independance and choice! :)

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lots of settings I see have the children's name on a card attached to an elastic band. The children self serve with their carten and put their band around it to mark it as theirs. If they don't finsh in one go it is put on the tray for later. Fruit is also taken as required.

 

I had a freeflow snack availability rather than a set time and found we did sitting listening to each other and sharing together in lots of other ways so I didn't feel I was missing an opportunity. Wish i'd thought of the elastic band idea!!

 

Cx

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Hi I've worked rolling snack with nursery children through to Year 2 children and it works really well. It does take some patience at time though. We have our pre school children pouring their own drinks and helping themselves to the snack on offer that day - fruit, rice cakes, fruit bars etc. The children find their name card (with their picture) on and place it at the snack table where they are going to sit. After their snack they wash their own cup in soapy water. This ensures that no sticky hands go onto activities too! The cups are then re washed by an adult at the end of the session.

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I admit to being fascinated by the idea of rolling snack time/snack bars where children help themselves and am all for supporting children as they strive to gain independence but for some reason I cannot see it working in my setting. Maybe it's because I haven't seen it in action and my visions are inaccurate.

 

We only have 14 children per session and an important part of the morning is snack time where we all sit together. Apart from story time (when the children are sitting and listening) it is the only time the whole group is together, sharing, listening, chatting etc. they all look forward to it and enjoy it and I can't imagine changing the way we do it.

 

I just have visions of children sitting for a second or two at the snack bar, having a couple of sips/bites and going off and coming back time and time again. I do understand the idea that they are being allowed to eat/drink when they see the need but sorry I then have visions of them at school wandering to lunch boxes when they feel a bit peckish!

 

I hasten to add this is not meant as a criticism! I am intrigued by it all and have given it considerable thought - am I the only one doing it 'the old way' I wonder and would be interested to hear others views :D

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No Geraldine you are not alone we also sit down together and eat together and nobody leaves the table until we have finished the children ask staff for drinks saying please and thankyou. They pass around a bowl of fruit taking no more than two pieces at a time. The children collect a plate and bowl from a tray and place them in the Kitchen sink when they have finished. We talk quietly to our friends on our table and staff sit with the children. In the summer we have snacks at the table in the garden

For some children this is their only experience of sitting up at the table - we only have a small nursery and I know this wouldn't work for everyone. Ofsted were happy with the arrangements and commented on their polite behaviour after being offered some fruit and milk by the children but were told they must wash their hands first.

 

How do groups who have a snack bar monitor the hygiene issues.

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I was taught ( a few years ago) by an inspirational tutor.

 

IMAGINE....

 

It's Saturday morning and you are in town shopping with your best friend Sally, Top Shop beckons and you really need another new dress, found a perfect one, go to the changing rooms, just about to try it on then.....

 

DING DONG DING DONG, the town bell rings, you have to tidy the dress away, go to the nearest cafe, queue in an orderly line then wash your hands then sit at a table that seats three other people.

 

EVERYONE in the town does the same.

Sally got left behind because she had three dresses to put away so someone else sits next to you, you know him slightly but he's not your best friend (and anyway tomorrow you will have another best friend, who wants to sit next to his other best friend and not you....etc etc)

 

The staff place 2 jugs in the middle of the table, you want milk but it all goes before it's your turn so you have to wait until the staff take it away to fill it up again....5 minutes have gone by (valuable shopping time) quick grab a piece of apple before it all goes....you want to tell Sally about the blue dress you've just found but she is sitting at another table....mmmmmm....what shall I talk about then...don't know I'll just listen....

 

Finished your apple ( fancied trying a carrot, like the 1st one you had yesterday, just to check if you really liked it ,but there is only apple today)

 

Now, can you go yet....no wait a while, you have to be sociable and learn how to have a chat, conversation with your peers....but you really want to talk to Sally, and buy that dress.

 

You can go now, quick back to the shop.....Oh No, someone else got there first, she's bought the dress, it was the last one...you'll never find another dress like it again. The opportunity has gone, it was stopped by that bell.

 

WOULD YOU FEEL HAPPY IF THIS HAPPENED TO YOU THIS SATURDAY???

 

Then why would our children be happy with this every week day? When all they want to do is play, drink when they are thirsty and eat when they are hungry.

JUST LIKE US ADULTS DO.

 

Peggy

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Give rolling snack a go! I was hesitent with doing it at first with Y1 children and it worked a treat, so you can imagine how my staff in nursery felt when I suggested it there - what 3 and 4 year olds pour out their own juice or milk! Give them their credit they tried it and it is still in place. Of course when the children first came in it was modelled with the staff and so took time up but hey how many learning intentions does that cover! The children are very good at washing their hands before they sit down and they remind each other. Before rolling snack was in place I observed a session and snack took 25 mins - this involved 20 children taking it in turn to go to the toilet then they had to wait for their drink and then for their snack - I'm sorry but this was not valuable time. There are plenty of other opportunities for the children to sit with their peers (circle time) talk to each other and use manners.

Of course not saying rolling snack will work in all situations but it certainly is worth trying.

Well done Peggy I think your 'text' was excellent!

 

We also have the children putting out their own portions of 'hot' food at lunchtime. The food is in serving bowls. The children are overseen by the staff as they put their food onto their own plates. It is lovely to witness. The language that comes out of this is amazing.

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Our snack bar opens when we do each morning, some children don't get breakfast. I bought some cups from Baker Ross, there is a clear plastic cup with a handle and a coloured solid plastc mug fits inside - The children place their name card (laminated) between the clear outer cup and the mug. (hard to explain).

 

The children help prepare the food at the table, we have a wide variety of snacks, some donated by parents.

Small bowls of a variety of 3-4 choices are placed in centre of table, and a jug of water and milk.

 

The children aged 2-4yrs learn the routine very quickly.

1. wash hands

2. get cup / mug from cupboard, and plate if hungry.

3. get name label (magnetic board) place in cup

4. use spoon to get snack from bowls and scoop onto plate (no fingers in bowl-cross contamination)

5. When finished - if cup is empty place in wash bowl (blue one) if not finished, place cup on side table to return to later.

 

The children learn their names quickly and don't drink from each others cups. They help each other and are encouraged to decide themselves if they have had enough to eat by considering..

Will you be able to eat your lunch?

Is there enough food left for the others?

 

It works very well, and Ofsted loved it :D

We stop food at 11am so as not to spoil lunch appetites but the drinks stay out.

 

Good luck to anyone that tries this, it really is great to see the childrens independence, hear their "chats" see them learn "self" control over their own eating, try new foods and I feel most importantly they are not stopped in their play.

 

Peggy

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iom,

I shall get the washing up bowl and water out next week, see how that goes.

I do have one boy who could quite easily spend all morning "cleaning" today I found him wiping the chairs wth the (red) cloth meant for tables, he soon learnt that the blue cloths are for messy stuff and red ones are for tables. Bless him :D:D

 

Peggy

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I love your story Peggy but we also have to learn that all shops have a closing time and also Nursery has a finishing time too.

What do other settings do about children who wont sit down for story time or don't want to join in with singing/ music. What happens when for safety reasons all children have to take part in a fire drill how do children cope if the expectation is that they dictate when and what they do all the time. Children need to learn to be independant but they also need to act as a group. We use snack time as a break before we go into the garden we cannot have free flow. I also have some children who would sit and eat until all the fruit was gone then there wouldn't be any left for the others

 

How do you stop your cut apple going brown?

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Mimi,

I respect your points but it's a balance between the benefit of "group" snack time opposed to the effect of stopping a child/person when they are involved in something...to then do something that is not relevant to the child/person at that time.

 

There is a FANTASTIC 8 page pull out in this weeks nursery world which addresses the rights of children, group times, formal and informal learning.

 

There is a discussion on story/singing/time, but I don't know how to link you there.

 

Children should be able to respond to instruction ie: Fire Drill, that is why we practise it, I explain the reasons like a "lets pretend" if this should happen, this is what we should do game.

 

Respect is a two way thing, Why should we dictate when a child has a snack and drink? If we don't dictate to children they won't learn to dictate to us.

 

Timetables can be adjusted to accomodate a rolling snack bar, and they vary from group to group.

The children do learn how to "control" their own eating, given support and time. I have found that the snack bar has shown many personal and emotional insights to individual childrens needs. ie: a child (in foster care) would grab all the food and stuff it quickly in his mouth, nearly gagging, by talking to the Foster carer, I discovered that the boy had learnt to eat any food very quickly because if he didn't his dad would take it from him and give it to his mates, he was also never sure when the next meal would be. It took us half a term, with support to help him unlearn this negative past experience and he then saw "eating" as a pleasurable time to share willingly with others.

 

The apples are cut, a few at a time and go quite quickly before they go brown.

I used to cut a lot more and if placed in a shallow bowl of water, this stops the browning.

 

Mimi, do you know any local groups that run this system, maybe you could observe it in practise.

 

Peggy

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I loved your analogy too Peggy and it was certainly thought provoking.

 

In our setting we have children who need the 'routine of snack time' it is an important part of their morning and they see it as a guide to when it will be hometime. I have found this is particularly relevant to our younger children whose concept or understanding of time is yet to develop.

 

I know several people use picture timetables for children who have various difficulties - pictures of washing hands, story time, snack time, coats and shoes for home time etc and wonder whether a rolling snack time would be difficult for these children.

 

If I found children were in any way upset at having to leave/stop what they were doing because it was snack time then I would think again - we just don't have problems, maybe we are just lucky. We are of course flexible and don't just look at the clock and announce snack time, Children can sit where they like at one large table and so far it has proved a happy and postive time for all concerned so maybe its just a case of "why fix it if it isn't broken" They love washing and drying their cups ( though like someone else said they are redone by an adult at the end of the session!)

 

I am all for change and progress but not change for changes sake. I certainly don't consider that we dictate to the children (or them to us) but as with alot of issues feel it's a question of balance and still feel that part of what we as practitioners do is develop childrens understanding that they cannot go through life doing what they want where, when and how they want to.

 

I wonder about circle time/story time if you have children going to get drinks when they choose, do you find that children going for a drink disrupts the story for the others, or perhaps one child goes and others then follow suit, do you wait for them to come back or carry on the story without them?

 

Certainly an interesting topic and hope others may share their views/practice :D

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We don't all have snack together but have groups of 8 children at a time. This takes place over about an hour and a half during the earlier part of the session. We don't have a cafe system-the children are asked to go for snack. But if they are busy or are not quite ready then another child will be asked to go. As we have quite a young group this year we gave them time to get used to the snack routine last term by putting their drinks out. Food is put in dishes or on plates in the middle of two tables, each seating 4 children. This term we will encourage the children to get their own drinks. We always have somebody helping to get cups out and milk cartons from the fridge.

I don't feel that there is a right or wrong way to do this, just what works for your group. I know of quite a lot of settings that use the cafe style system and they are very happy with it. But we all have different ways of approaching situations and this is surely a good thing.

Linda

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I like the idea of free drinks but I'm not so sure about the snack. Our children ask when they need a drink and know we'll oblige but this morning (after reading this thread last night) I watched them when they were told it was time for snack and they ran to the tables, could it mean they were hungry or that they didnt need time to finish doing something? Our snack is always preceeded by tidy up time so they have already finished their activities. I personaly think it's nice to all sit together and chat, and it is useul for when they are in school and have to understand set times for set purposes. Plus we're only open for 2.5 hours and by the time the parents have left and we've done the register it leaves us around 1hour and 15 mins before we have to start tidying up ready for snack. if we did a snack bar we wouldnt find time to do anything else. We also need them all sitting in one place while we carry the heavy equipment across the room ready for the next lot of activities like bikes, dance or movement. Like Linda says though there's not really a right or wrong way and depends on each setting, but it's not really an option for us. :D

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We have been wondering about changing to a cafe style, but I have a concern about children who are unaware of being thirsty and hungry and would never interrupt their play for a drink and a snack (my own son was like this in reception and came home dehydrated having had nothing to drink from 8.30am to 3.30 pm just about every day in his first year at school) . Do you find that a problem Peggy?

Carolyn

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Carolyn,

We have a board (magnetic) with the childrens names on, so we can see at a glance which children haven't accessed the snack bar and so they are reminded and/or encouraged to get a drink, this is especially important for the newer children who may not be fully used to the system. I am aware that a lot of schools now encourage children to have the "sport" type bottles of water at their desks ( older age range) to 1. ensure against dehydration and 2. so they don't have to leave the class to access water.

 

Rea,

I think observations of snack time or rolling snack bar can prove very interesting to show children's behaviour with regards to food. We have done time sample obs which showed that many of the children have formed their own regular routine of when they access the snack bar. ie: Chas is always there as he arrives in the morning, Arnold often has a drink at around 10am whereas Caitlyn has food first before her drink, always after storytime. It really is very interesting.

We as adults eat to our own body timetables, I can't eat breakfast first thing in the morning, but need lots of drink in the mornings yet don't often drink during the afternoon. I do tend to drink a lot in the evenings but thats a different topic altogether :oxD

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The more I observe Peggy, the more astonished I am. Two children were throwing their crusts to each other this morning, I'm sure my children were never this lacking in manners, but thats a whole different thread! :o

Hope you're enjoying this evenings tipple xD

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I have tried both systems in a larger nursery we had a rolling snack time but we also had more staff to monitor this activity. In my present setting we have found a group snack time works best. We obviously have very different children to some other settings and our priorities are different.

I do feel that settings should use a system that works best for them ( Staff and Children) and not feel they have to follow trends.

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This subject has been on my mind for quite a long time.

The Pre-school is in a Church hall and, same as you Rea, tidy up time preceeds snack time, so the children will have finished what they were doing. Myself and staff think that snack time is a very important part of the morning. We will be starting the kite mark next week and I know that they are keen for us to 'try' the rolling snack bar. My views are same as you Geraldine - 'why fix it if it isn't broken'. Our snack time in keyworker groups works very well, if we had a problem then I would consider an alternative. Some settings have rolling snack bars - it suits them - but others, like us prefer sitting in keyworker groups for snack. Why change what works well?

I also think it is important to develop childrens understanding that they can't go through life just doing what they like when they like

In life, we cannot always do what we like, when we like to whom we like. I know this sounds a bit heavy but it is a fact.

When we have discussed this subject at staff meetings, we have always come up with the same answer - Snack time in keyworker groups is a great opportunuty for children to chat in small groups about anything and everything.... listen to others and take turns in conversation....count how many children....are there enough biscuits or pieces of fruit for everyone, etc ... I know that there are other opportunities during the morning to chat, listen count etc. but this, to us, is a very special time.

Sorry to ramble but I feel strongly about keeping our snack time as it is.

 

Sue J

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Hi Sue J

I too have thought long and hard about this over the past couple of days. I suppose it very much depends on what you want the children to get out of snack time. There was a conversation on here a long time ago about the merits of having snack time and why we did it. I feel that when young children first start at pre-school or nursery they have had no or very little experience of eating with people other than their immediate family. Snack time for our pre-school therefore is a time for children to become accustomed to eating with other children and under the supervision of an adult other than their parents. I wonder if some children, in a snack bar situation, would always choose to have snack when there are no other children about.

We use the time for social interaction too. As we only have 8 at a time on 2 tables it isn't too intimidating for quieter, more shy chilren to become involved. Yes, there are other times when you have a small group of children but those times, for us, are more focused either playing a game, having a story etc. There is not the same general chit chat that comes from sitting with friends having a drink and something to eat.

The other problem we have is that we have a separate room where the children go for snack and I don't think we would be able to supervise it in the same way as when they are in one large room with everybody else.

I have thought about the logistics of having a snack bar at our pre-school and don't feel it would be practical. We encourage the children to be independent and make choices in many other ways. But, having said that if it works for others then that is good. As long as the children are happy within the routine for your setting and staff find it easy to manage then I say go with what you feel is best.

Linda

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Linda, I just soooo agree with everything you have just said!!!

 

Lucy, Kitemark is the accreditation scheme (West Sussex). There have been discussions about accreditations a while back - I found it - but I have spent about 15 minutes trying to find out how to link it to this posting. I GAVE UP...perhaps someone else could do it for you, if you are interested. Also could someone also let me know how to do a link from one place to another please?

 

Sue J

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