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Snack Time Routines?


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Hi everyone, does anyone have any idea of how to run snack time in a areception class? Am tryting to make it more free flow but struggling with how this works and if it works!!

Reception children last year were all sat down to eat and I find this way too formal and time wasting!

Thanks

Kazdav1

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Hi. Our reception children all have a biscuit first thing in the morning while teacher is taking register. All sit on carpet in circle and helper gives out biscuit. works verry well as some of our children arrive with no breakfast. children have their milk and fruit after playtime. all have it together, sitting on carpet. again helpers give out snack. teachers combine this with circle time. sounds too formal for you but works for us as it's a good calmning down time and we can mkake sure thyat all cxhildren actually have a drink and food, as left to their owqn devices, some wouldn't bother. hope this is of some help....but i suspect not!

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too formal and time wasting!

 

I'm Preschool, so I'm aware it's not the same, but can I just ask - what's wrong with formal? :( I think it's nice that children are given an opportunity to actually sit down with their friends and eat in a formal way. It gives lots of scope for interactions with others and covers aspects of manners etc that you may not see in other situations. For some children, formal eating is a novelty - they usually eat and run, and I know that several of our children don't sit and eat at a table at home - at least one family doesn't possess a dining table! :o

 

On another plus side, it gives me time to make notes on things I've seen in the previous part of the session and catch up on other admin things for 10 minutes! xD We take turns to sit with the children during snack.

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Yes, I thought formal was best, all the nursery and F2 sitting together, I cannot get used to the cafe style idea at all, with just two staff in the room with 26 children (last year) I look over and see several 3 yr olds sitting sadly drinking their milk, the old system works best, as we all sat down together and the adults chatted to the children.

 

Unfortunately, our head has decided on the cafe style.

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Hi

I know this is quite a bone of contention-formal or non-formal. we have always sat down together in the nursery and they do the same in year r. My thoughts are that many of our children do not sit at tables for meals, many do not have the social skills and therefore benefit from this. However when we went for the quality mark in Early years we were told that because of the way we do snack we would not get it. I still do snack the formal way, have been seen by early years advisor and the lead early years advisor who has not said it was wrong. i feel we should do what is right for the children we have.

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I have always worked with the 'formal' way and liked it and stood up for the values of it....however my new setting has a snack bar and I must say that it incorporates both styles quite nicely....the children are invited to come and have a snack when they want - an adult supports the area - and so quite often there is a few children at once sitting together chatting and independently choosing their snack etc....I was sceptical but it does work and other children watching will sometimes rush over but if some are engaged in play they carry on playing - it is their choice when they stop to eat... :o Ours have lunch together and I think that covers the social side of sitting together etc... xD

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At my setting we all sit together and share a communal snack break. We have tried the cafe type system and it was one of the things that PSLA QA scheme seemed to harp on about. As a staff team we evaluated both methods and as a group the children were consulted and asked for preferences.

 

All the children preferred to sit and enjoy a snack together - so that's what we do! :o

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Hi kazdav1

 

We have been running a free flow snack bar for a while now.. At 9.30 one of the staff members goes and prepairs the snack. By 9.50 its on the table and our music que comes on that snack time is ready. The children book a place at the 8 seater table by using thier names and then go and wash their hands. They come back sit down and get a plate and a drink, then help themselfs to the healthy snack from the bowls in the centre of the table. Once finished they clear their plates and cups put them on the tray and put their names into a basket. A staff member is on hand but not sat at the table and then they will re-fill the bowls if need be whilst the next children book their place. The children are very observant and naturaly do this on their own. Our childrens ages are 2-4+. They hardly need any adult guidance any more. They all use manners for asking for different bowls and ask each other to get down from the table. Sanck time runs for 45mins-1hour.

 

Hope this helps and gives you a birds eye view of our setting

 

Kat

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Hi im with those formal guys! Firt thing in a mornn before assembly, (religious school) all the children have a slice of toast, the children also have water bottles and they have a target to have at least three drinks of it before lunch and after. They have fruit at playtime and then after play they have milk and a biscuit whilst we sing songs, share news listen to a story. Its nice to have some qiet time wih the children and enjoy everybodys company becase were so bsy for the rest of the day. but you gotta do what the head says you gotta do so good luck im sure it will turn out finex

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We are a pre-school and sitting together around tables is lovely. The bit I am having a big struggle with (particularly now with the brand new 2 year olds) is getting them all out to the toilets (church hall), waiting to go out or waiting for friends to catch up before this lovely bit of snack begins. Ofsted say they MUST wash hands under running water but if we could only use a wipe for the 2 year olds and progress to handwashing and waiting for friends when they eventually move to the funded sessions. Does anyone else get away with using wipes? I really think it would have a positive effect on the whole snack part of the session for these little ones - hectic is not the word!!

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We have a formal snack time in our reception class. I take the chidlren out to play on the big playground (as opposed to our outside area) while my TA stays in with our 2 class helpers to prepare snack. My TA puts the table cloths out, then the children put the plates and cups out. TA helps the children prepare the snack, which is usually always ready by the time I get back in from the playground. We wash our hands before going back into the classroom, then we all sit down together for snack. The children have some lovely conversations which is great for us to see what's going on in their heads! Plus, it's differnt to the pre-school routine they are used to, another step up for them into 'big'school. We work our adult's breaks around this and it workd really well for us.

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I thought that the main reason for having a snack bar rather than formal snack time was so that the children's play was not interupted and there was a long period of time for the children to work indepth. Which is mention several times in the EYFS. The ECERS information states that it is preferable for an adult to be sitting with the children and that snack time is used as a conversation time but that snack needs to be done in small groups so that there is no long periods of waiting e.g. at hand washing.

I hope this helps. :o

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having done it every which way over the years it all depends on the children which works.. for one year may be altogether, and next flexible style..

 

personally i do prefer the flexible - no queues for toilet, no waiting for others to finish, particularly with slow eaters.

and just because they come in small groups when they want to does not mean it is no longer a social time, they still sit at a table, they still help with the food and drinks etc, they still chat with each other and staff and do all the other things done in large group time..

 

an adult can sit with them if you wish, they can also become totally independent at doing the task over the year.

 

they can also finish a task before having snack, play while others are having snack and we find have longer to 'play' than when we all come together as a large group snack.

 

the one thing it does not do is allow staff to do other things while snack is on (which I know some groups do ) as all are needed .

 

It need not be all day or morning, ours was usually 45 mins.. and all had snack in this time, in small groups, with a staff member joining in,

 

And I too feel the need to defend and justify our way of doing it as so many always say how good al sit at same time is...

 

horses for courses.. what works for one may not for another.

 

Inge

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I thought that the main reason for having a snack bar rather than formal snack time was so that the children's play was not interupted and there was a long period of time for the children to work indepth. Which is mention several times in the EYFS. The ECERS information states that it is preferable for an adult to be sitting with the children and that snack time is used as a conversation time but that snack needs to be done in small groups so that there is no long periods of waiting e.g. at hand washing.

I hope this helps. :o

Hi Helen and a very warm welcome to the forum........you are absolutely right........that's why I have had to defend my 'method'..........as others have said - it's what works for your group that should be the deciding factor.......

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Do you not find some children wander back to playing like some of those not yet ready to have snack, then wander back to have more snack - meaning their hands are no longer clean? How does that all work? I am very interested in this topic as I really want to make a change to my younger session. (I love the routine one for my 3 year olds tho)

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Had a little boy last year who had a great number of allergies. So early on I met with his parents to talk about our snack provision, what he could and couldn't eat, and what he was Ok to be near. We came up with a list of foods he could eat, and made sure we included these in our snack menu. We discussed with the parents if it was OK to have certain snacks that the child couldn't eat himself, and it was decided that on those days we would provide something that he could eat. The other children in the class were fantastic with this - and they always made sure that the child had a plate that was just for him and the helpers would lead him to this place setting and explain to the other children why they could not sit there. I don't think he felt excluded - he was very aware of what he could eat and wouldn't touch anything he wasn't sure about, that really helped.

 

But as long as you know exactly what a child can'can't have and you make sure there's something they can eat, all should be fine. Even with a free-flow system, so long as there's something available for the child and you make sure that they know what they can have. :o

Edited by Guest
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I prefer formal, but we do struggle with handwashing.

 

In my opinion formal snack is better because of all the reasons mentioned before as well as,

 

it is the only time the staff get to go to the loo.

even with a free flow snack time you have to have a devoted adult (believe me, it only takes one child to choke and nearly die infront of you before you will agree to that one!)

 

Once again not an ideal situation either way! - but then nothing ever is in foundation stage!

:o

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Our snack routine is as follows. After tidy up time we gather for 5 minutes all together and discuss quickly the mornings events, or play a game, today we played Here we go round the mulberry bush for example. Then one child leads out all the boys and one child leads out all the girls to wash their hands, supervised by adults. The snack table is prepared with a choice of fresh fruit, dried fruit and a carb, either rice cake, bread stick etc. As the children finish washing their hands they then find their registration name card laid out on a table and come to the snack table, they choose from what is available, put it in their snack pot and find a seat at a table. As the tables are filled up, one child is then chosen to count their companions and count and collect enough cups for everyone on their table. Adults offer a choice of milk or water to each child. Water jugs are then placed on the tables for the children to help themselves from.

 

The draw back of this system is some queuing up which the children have to do, - however, I don't see this as a negative thing - what is so wrong with children learning to wait for a minute or two, surely waiting in line is something they are going to have to come to terms with at some point in their lives.

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I have been doing a rolling snack bar for 2 terms now. This term with the new children it has worked really well. The children all know to wash their hands before snack, and monitor themselves quite strictly in this. I am very lucky, and sometimes have 3 adults in my class (for 14 children) so we often have one adult who can sit with the children to chat. I find this much easier than formal snack, as I spent a long time tidying up before snack, which took a big chunk out of the morning. Now that I have also abandoned playtimes this works well for me - however I think this is key - this works for me and my children - my children enjoy it - and to me that's the most important thing - their enjoyment.

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In our setting once the children have washed hands they wait for their friends to finish out in the toilet area then when everyone is assembled we say a little prayer (No Amen at the end tho!) and then put the food on the table. The sitting around a table bit is so lovely but the little ones just can't wait like the 3 year olds. So do you think it would be better to just let them tuck in as soon as they are done washing hands without waiting for friends???

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The draw back of this system is some queuing up which the children have to do, - however, I don't see this as a negative thing - what is so wrong with children learning to wait for a minute or two, surely waiting in line is something they are going to have to come to terms with at some point in their lives.

Hooray for a bit of common sense - must be a Kent thing Panders! :oxD

 

I actually think 'waiting' is a life skill........

 

I'm 'waiting' now........ to get shot down in flames!!! :(:(

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Well strawberryserge, as our children finish washing hands, they immediately choose their snack, sit at the table and eat! They might "save" a seat next to them for their friend :oxD I think expecting them to wait with food in front of them - is asking too much of our little ones after they have chosen it, if it were on a communal plate on the table, well maybe they would be able to wait. Our snack time is a little late in the morning and they are really quite hungry by then. We say our prayer at the end of the morning along with our goodbye song.

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goodness I can't believe there are so many different ways to do snack time! I have just taken over a nursery class in a school and have jsu put the idea of sustained play in place so that snack time is just before story and home. It is taking a while for that idea to be accepted by other staff and they keep commenting the children are getting restless. At the moment we have snack all together but I am thinking of gradually going over to having it in small groups with an adult but opened for a limited time. I agree though that it totally depends on the children you have and that there should be an adult with them mainly to extend and model language skills. Where we are, there are many children that don't have this valuable experience in their everyday life! Grrrrrrr, it just goes round and round! hey ho :o

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