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Snack Time And Hand Washing


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I'm after some advice having observed this morning's session as a helper (I'm a parent and also chair of committee).

 

We've been debating the whole snack time versus rolling snack for a while, and staff are convinced of the value of having the children sit down together. I'm fine with that, but on a Wednesday we have lots of children in and the whole thing just seemed to take ages this morning. Also, normally we get them all to wash their hands but given that most of them had been painting and had already washed hands, they just got the ones who needed the toilet to wash hands and let the rest of them sit down without bothering.

 

To my mind this is fine, especially given how long it would have taken to toilet/hand wash them all in addition to the time taken for snack. But I'm pretty sure we would be slated by Ofsted for that. Do we stand our ground and say we refuse to be obsessed by excessive hygiene, when it is going to take away so much of our play time? Or do I try again to persuade them of the benefits of a rolling snack bar? Or should we go for the whole hand wipes thing which is (a) probably not good for their hands and (xD an eco nightmare.

 

We have quite a few children toilet training at the moment which means there is a lot of time wasted in taking them to the loo. I just felt like there had hardly been any time at all to play! Help my brain is melting, and I'm sure one of you will have the perfect solution!! :o

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I have to admit, we don't wash hands before having our fruit. The children can go and have their milk / water whenever they choose but for fruit we sit down together at the end of the session, sometimes we eat and have a chat or sometimes we'll eat during a story.

I had been thinking about the handwashing before eating thing recently, but it would be a total logistical nightmare. The children who have been playing in 'messy' activities (paint, glue, playdough, sand) always go and wash their hands after they've finished tidying up, so then to send all the other to wash hands would be a ridiculous waste of time.

I don't remember washing my hands as a child every time I wanted to eat a piece of fruit, in fact I remember picking apples and blackberries from a disused quarry lane and making jam without washing my hands and I'm still here!!

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it was the taking a long time out of the session which made us change to snack bar... it was taking longer and longer, ans the benefits of sitting together are still there if done in smaller groups at a snack bar while others are allowed to continue in activities..

 

They still sit together in small groups, we have an adult at the table to chat and help when needed, they come with friends and take as long or as short a time a they want.. no queueing for toilets, or handwashing, waiting for others to finish or children rushing food so they can leave the table first which happened when we tried letting them back to play when finished...

 

At recent Ofsted she did ask and check they were washing hands before eating, and checked it was running water, etc...

 

we decided against the gels or wipes as as said allergy issue, and I do worry that overuse of them actually makes the bugs immune so eventually when really needed will not work.. but that is a personal view...

 

I am sure not washing hands before eating will not do anyone any real harm.. but felt it was good practice to encourage them to do so...

 

Inge

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Rolling snack works well in our setting, especially when we have 34 children attending! We were sending them to the toilets to wash their hands. Now we have decided to move our mobile sink to our snack area, peviously it was in the messy play area. I think it is better near snack as the adult there can really teach them how to wash their hands properly - not just a quick fingertip under a tap! When you send them to wash their hands unless you are there you have no idea if they have done it at all!

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We've done both - rolling snack and all together - at the moment we are all sitting together - it changes due to the needs of the children - and at the moment we have a child (with additional needs) who cannot cope with 'uncertainty of children coming and going from the snack table during rolling snack time so we have gone back to eating all together. Both have worked well for us. I like rolling snack but it did take out one member of staff per session which then meant we couldn't offer free flow outdoor play because of safety issues and ratios.

We use handwipes by the way as our toilets are a long way from the room and the children cannot access them idependently - Ofsted fine with what they saw.

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Its many many years since we all sat together unless there is an event-Teddy bears picnic, party, event. In nursery we always wash hands with antibactrial hand soap in pump dispenser-'snack soap' as the children call it. In reception fruit with milk is eaten together during a story and a spray antibactrial is used which takes seconds. We take the spray on trips It is also used by all the children in school as they enter the dinning hall although reception have toileting before lunch as well.

I don't think it matters if OFSTED are happy its more about basic food hygiene and whether what you are doing would satisify health inspectors if you had an outbreak of winter vomiting or food poisoning.

Edited by Guest
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We have 20 children per session at the most - we have two wash hand basins, one member of staff supervising per wash room, we don't find it takes too long to do.

 

We use Kandoo squirty foam, the children each get a squirt and begin to rub it over their hands, then step up to the basin, wash/rinse and use a paper towel themselves to dry and put in the bin.

 

They re-enter the hall, find their registration name and join a short queue to self serve their snack, occasionally there is a blip in the waiting period to get their snack, (generally caused by a child or two who find choosing a snack challenging) but we find this is just another excuse to learn a little lesson in life!

 

They pop their registration name in the box, pick up a plastic snack pot and choose from 3 snack items - some adult supervision required just to keep an eye - ((now with that many children dipping into a bowl of raisins etc. you would have wanted them to have washed their hands!) They then sit at one of the tables wherever they wish. One child counts and collects enough cups for their table and hands them round and the children self serve from jugs on the table - of water at least, adults tend to go round with the milk as we don't have those neat little cartons. We allow 15/20 minutes for the whole snack time routine out of 3 hours - I don't think that's too much time lost for us. It is part of the final hour of the morning which is the adult initiated/led time in our group.

 

For our group Suzie, if we were to change to rolling snack, it would have to be the routine every day I think, if we were to mix and match the snack thing the children would be confused and it wouldn't run that smoothly, we have 4 children who do not cope well with transition times as it is and at the present time we feel they need the predicatbility of our current routine.

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We all handwash before snack, and we all sit down together. The whole thing only takes about 15 minutes or so. We have about 19 children at once and it works fine, we split the children into 2 groups and they go to separate sinks, it doesn't take long at all.

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We were picked up at our Ofsted inspection (the one before last I think) because children were washing their hands and then sitting on the carpet before joining snack. It was specifically mentioned in our report, and we changed the way we handle snack and hand washing as a result. Handwashing is one of the things we look for as a mark of a quality environment when we carry out ECERS audits.

 

I'm not sure what the welfare requirements say specifically about hand washing, but I do know that handwashing is seen as one of the frontline defences against the spread of infection such as flu (swine or normal!). So I can only imagine that if Mrs Ofsted witnessed a snacktime that didn't include ensuring children had clean hands, you would be pulled up for it.

 

However that said it does depend on what the children had done in the time between washing their hands after painting and sitting down to eat. I don't think Mrs O would agree that making sure children have clean hands before eating could be said to be getting obsessed with cleanliness.

 

We have resisted the pressure to try a rolling snack bar for so long, but I am seriously thinking about trialling it next term - although in our case it is falling numbers of chidren and therefore fewer staff needed that has made it look more attractive for us.

 

Maz

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We changed to rolling snack and I prefer it much more than whole group snack - we get much more conversation, are able to keep a closer eye on who is eating/drinking what etc, the children are choosing (most of the time) when to come along and an adult is always with them, not always the same one as we rotate during the session. Our children also prep the snack. They always, always wash their hands without fail and are trained very early on to use soap and to rinse and dry properly - we find as not all 20 go at the same time it's much easier to teach and maintain.

To monitor who has been the children post their names in a box when they have washed their hands then they get themselves a cup ad plate sit down and choose their snack from prepared fruit/breadsticks/dried fruit etc, they pour their milk or water. It's really successful and has been for each year group so far. For special occasions, like a child leaving mid term, we have a tea party with everyone sitting together - then we realise why we have rolling snack!!! The children really love this although it can stress some out as it gets too noisy and busy.

Sam

Edited by sam2368
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I agree with all of the above.

 

I have always had children washing hands before eating, but they didn't at my children's nursery, even during a farm visit ( I was there).

 

I think our LEA would pick us up on it if we didn't, they are always writing to us about swine flu etc. Also there is so much snot, coughing etc at this time of year. Not nice.

 

For those thinking about rolling snack, why don't you join snack as one of the children one day and see how much waiting around there is in a big group. Our whole group times are circle time, story and lunch which in 3 hours is more than enough. A rolling snack creates a smaller group which is nice.

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We have resisted the pressure to try a rolling snack bar for so long

 

Maz

 

Yay! xD I'm not alone then! :(

 

We all handwash before snack and eat together as a group - makes sense for us as we are unable to offer free flow.........so we have to make a 'break'.....

 

So - use toilet, wash hands, snack, outdoor play..........works for us.......have lost count of the number of times I have had to defend this practice - Ofsted, EYAT, SIP :o:(

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have lost count of the number of times I have had to defend this practice - Ofsted, EYAT, SIP :o:(

I did what every good reflective degree student did - I did research! I sent out a questionnaire to parents asking what they wanted us to do about snack. They overwhelmingly said we should retain our sit-down snack. Once I flashed the results about a bit no-one has mentioned rolling snack again. xD

 

Incidentally we do it exactly the other way round, sunnyday - registration, outdoor play (limited free flow) then indoors to change and wash hands before snack. Works for us!

 

Maz

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Thanks to everyone for the replies, loads of food for thought, I'm still not sure what it is best for us to do.

 

I went to a forest school meeting before half term and they said that those children never washed their hands before eating despite being outdoors all day.

 

Studies have shown a rapid increase in allergies since we became so cautious about hygiene, although I completely understand the other points of view.

 

Will keep pondering :o

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Studies have shown a rapid increase in allergies since we became so cautious about hygiene, although I completely understand the other points of view.

 

 

I'm totally with you on this, I think we have all become far too obsessive about cleanliness - did you see the advert for antibacterial washing powder the other day!!!! Something else for people to panic about eh.

 

There does seem to be a lot of agreement from these studies that allergies have increased in line with this compulsion for anti-bac!

 

I was on a food hygiene course a year or so ago where we were told the table should be washed with anti-bac, soap and water and then rinsed with extremely hot water, before children are allowed to eat from it. Hmmm, does anyone else do this?

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I was on a food hygiene course a year or so ago where we were told the table should be washed with anti-bac, soap and water and then rinsed with extremely hot water, before children are allowed to eat from it. Hmmm, does anyone else do this?

No Cait, we just wash and spray with anti-bac. I think there's a big difference between taking the precaution of washing hands before snacktime and being so trigger happy with the anti-bac that we increase children's allergies. :o

 

Maz

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No Cait, we just wash and spray with anti-bac. I think there's a big difference between taking the precaution of washing hands before snacktime and being so trigger happy with the anti-bac that we increase children's allergies. :o

 

Maz

 

Well, I have to admit that we don't do all that either - and it seemed very OTT to us to do it in the first place.

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I was on a food hygiene course a year or so ago where we were told the table should be washed with anti-bac, soap and water and then rinsed with extremely hot water, before children are allowed to eat from it. Hmmm, does anyone else do this?

 

I'm surprised they said this. When I went on my food hygiene course they took great pains to tell us repeatedly that either anti bac or very hot water would do the trick, doing both was not necessary. There had been confusion previously where people had misunderstood the message and thought they meant both. They also stressed that a luxury soap and thorough hand washing technique was far better than anti bac.

 

There are 2 times I think it is vital children wash their hands. After going to the toilet and before eating. If these become habit forming then it would help to cut the number of cases of bad stomach upsets that people get. And unfortunately for some vulnerable groups the consequences of these are quite drastic.

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I am not a cleanliness freak but on the whole i really do think it is good practice for children to wash hands prior to eating especially when you have high numbers of children and therefore are at greater risk from spreading illness and germs

 

i think you would be slatted by ofsted and rightly so because if there was an out break of anything you would not have a leg to stand on.

 

we offer a rolling snack bar hugely successful and all children wash hands if they wish to come over, im not for antinac soap just normal soap and water

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Do you find that you need to have an adult at a rolling snack bar? Its just with 2 of us and 26 children and sinks out of sight from the main room, and free-flow and observations if one of us was constantly at a snack bar something else would have to give.

 

We have a bar for our milk / water which the children collect and post their name card to show they've had a drink but its hard enough reminding and persuading the children to leave what they are doing to have a drink, let alone to then eat fruit as well! I find that it actually helps the more reluctant children to try the fruit on offer if they are all sat together. I don't remember OfSted having a problem with our children not washing their hands before fruit, but that was back in Feb last year, pre all the new extra rigourous checks on safeguarding etc.

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Hi

 

We wash hands before snack, lunch etc and after toileting without fail, with the winter sickness bug doing the rounds, risk of swine flu etc

 

We don't use anti-bac soap for the children

 

We do use anti-bac spray and disposable tissue to clean tables before eating

 

We also have children toilet training at the moment, nappies etc, - staff earn their money two fold!

 

We have a sit down snack to give children chance to rest, to interact and allow staff to be deployed to interact with the children outside, inside, nappy changing etc

 

We have our own room, with 3 toilets/sinks children are sent in 3's to wash their hands whilst one adult sings songs, talks to them, we also get children to help with problem solving to challenge our more able children - ie we have 14 children today, how many children should there be on each table. Bear in mind that this is our first time of coming together as a group, unless we are cooking or have a specific activity planned, as children go straight into free play when they come in.

 

A met the manager of another group recently who said that they have a combination of rolling snack and all sit down together - which was interesting. We were on a course so didn't go into detail, but I understand children have the opportunity to have a drink and something to eat for the first part of the morning and they all sit together for snack. Interesting!

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we do have an adult at the snack bar not because the children need someone there just for safety reasons, chocking or slicing :Pa finger

 

the hand washing is out of the main hall but all our children are able to wash their hands without supervision, mine are as young as 2 1/2 but we have risk assessed and they manage very well

I love my rolling snack time it makes for a lovely small social group and are wonderful interactive communcating times for adult and child but more importantly children who not wish to access it dont have to

 

it creates independance and choice all important tools for children to have

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We do rolling snack - with 20 children a session, getting all hands washed, ginving out snacks etc took a long time when we did group snack everyday, and we had an LEA SENCo in to advise on a particular child who suggested we try it - I wouldn't go back. We have a table near the kitchen where we do snack, an adult cleans the table and the children help get the snack board ready to show what we have, the names of the children in that session out, then wash their hands - we ideally fit 4 children round the table + the adult, but can easily get 6 or 7 round it if there are a lot wanting snack together, or one eating v-e-r-y slowly.

 

But we have group snack for birthdays and other special events or when we've had a visitor in - the children help less with it when we do group snack as they're all round the table and it gets squashy!

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  • 2 months later...

Brilliant ideas! I've been thinking about having a rolling snack for some time now and will be starting after the half term. Hopefully I can use some of your ideas, especially using a mobile sink for hand washing etc.

 

Thanks :o

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Throughout the years, I always explained the importance of handwashing and the children seemed to understand, but this year I found this web site Handy and BOY xD the children REALLY loved it. You can see them washing their hands properly and can explain to anyone why they do it and how. Don't miss the animation and there are lots of downloadables :o .

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thank you for this link we've just started using a mobile sink and I wanted to make it less mechanical, these posters could lighten it up!

 

we have a snack cafe run by a parent helper, the children prepare the snack for the cafe before it opens and the children come and use the "shop" in groups of 4 paying for their choice of snack with their name label and they all wash their hands before using it. It works well for us x

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