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Snack Time Buffet Style


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

We are trying to implement a buffet style snack time with just 3 children at a time and it is not working for us. We have separate toilets so have to take everyone down to wash hands. This is after having tidied the area they were playing in. 3 children are then offered snack while the other 3 move back to play. Our problem is those who are eating snack are very distracted by the others play and watch with so much interest they forget to eat at times! Then it is trying to get the next 3 to actually come to the table and eat. How do you organise your snack time?

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My older children in the Preschool room have 'snackpots' (Ikea bowls) which I fill and put on a tray with a packet of wet wipes and they just come and help themselves when they want, they usually take them back over to where they were playing and carry on. The younger children in the other room sit down round their tables all at once to eat when there is a 'lull' in their play

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Guest terrydoo73

We used to get everyone down to the bathroom wash their hands and then when came back to the Playroom we had 4 children at each table. The children had to get a mat and a cup. There was milk and water available in jugs for them to help themselves and us assisting and similarly there was taost and 2 choices of fruit. Our Early Years Advisor said that most playgroups were using the buffet style and we should try and implement it too - it helps children decide when they want snack, if they want snack and children will converse with adults more. The last 2 days we have been trying it and it worked perfectly but it is the convincing of the remaining children to come and avail or else you get a child who is anxious to eat immediately and then gobbles the food down so she can get back to playing with something.

 

What is in your snackpots? We have been told that wet wipes are not acceptable, it has to be washing hands under running water.

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We did move to a buffet style system after years of having whole group time, but, unless I'm misinterpreting your set up, it is easier for us as we have access to the toilets and sinks directly off the main playroom and the more confident children sort themselves out. We also have a slightly hidden area in which the children eat snack so they can avoid being distracted by those still playing. I think it might be worth trying out the new style for a little longer but if it doesn't work for you at this time don't be afraid to tell your advisor that and go back to what does work for you. I know of other settings which do and don't offer snack in this way and it is generally because it is something that works with the particular children at the time and in their physical environment. Remember the advisor is exactly that, not someone to tell you what to do!

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Snackpots are slices of apple, banana, a satsuma and sometimes a couple of pringles. Children are often outside playing and to bring them in for handwashing to go back out to sit on the grass - when they put their hands on the grass before sitting down anyway, seemed a bit silly. So this way they grab a pot and wipe, sit down, wipe their hands, eat their snack, pop the wipe in the bowl and bring it back to the tray. How do you manage if you are outside?

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It is worth bearing in mind the case in Scotland of the forest school nursery who won their little battle with Ofsted who said that children should have access to running water and soap to wash their hands before snack when outdoors, and therefore gave them an inadequate (I think). We use wet wipes when we're out in the woods, but since we have a sitting-down-altogether snacktime when we're at nursery, we encourage everyone to wash their hands with soap and water! :o

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http://creativestarlearning.blogspot.com/2...01_archive.html

here is the link to the handwashing findings...if your interested (scrolldown to 20th jan thursday)

 

terrydoo i am a real advocate of snack bar systems....but only if they are workable and it does seem that in your setting this is not the case. Dont be afraid to tell your advisor that you dont want to do it like that...they are only 'advisors' :o

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I agree with Finleysmaid. I don't think its automatically 'best' practice to have a snack bar, and I think its up to you to decide what you want to do, and why. You can reflect on why, make changes and then come full circle back. I tried all ways, but in the end, I felt a group snack time gave the social learning that I knew my children didn't get at home. Sitting down together, sharing out food , cups, etc together and taking turns in conversations are really important skills, and so we kept the group snack in the end. If snack bar does all of this, then that's fine, but I have to say I am often out in settings at snack time and very often there is no adult anywhere near the children, and sometimes a child is sat on their own.

 

If you do decide to continue with the snack bar, the children will adjust to what is expected of them. Give them time to adjust and then review the situation..you can even ask them which they prefer. You have a small group anyway, so both ways could work equally well, given time.

 

I was just wondering why they all have to go to the bathroom when only some are having snack. is it possible for one person to take 3 chidlren whilst the other adult remains with the others and vice versa?

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We introduced our snack bar about 5 weeks ago, we have a table set out for 6 children and when they see a space they collect their name card put it at the space and then wash their hands (we are lucky as our toilets are fully accessable the whole time). We put small jugs with water or milk out and bowls with pieces of fruit and either bread sticks/tortillas or yoghurts in them. When we are down to the last few children we let them know the snack bar will be closing in 10 minutes and so far all children do come to the table.

When we were looking into rolling snack I put a post on here asking if I could visit a local setting and watch their rolling snack, it was really beneficial and a great help (thank you Deb in Writtle!!). Maybe you could visit a couple of settings to see how they operate their snack time.

 

Kris

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We were advised to have a snack bar which we did try for half a term but it just didn't work for us at all. Neither my EYA or Preschool Development Worker were impressed when I told them we wouldn't be continuing with it however when Ofsted came they were more than happy with the way the children had snack. They commented what a great social event it was and how independent the children were. So if it doesn't work for you just do it the way that does. Just as every child is unique so is every setting.

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We were advised to have a snack bar which we did try for half a term but it just didn't work for us at all. Neither my EYA or Preschool Development Worker were impressed when I told them we wouldn't be continuing with it however when Ofsted came they were more than happy with the way the children had snack. They commented what a great social event it was and how independent the children were. So if it doesn't work for you just do it the way that does. Just as every child is unique so is every setting.

 

hear, hear - well said. As far as OFSTED go as long as you are passionate about the things you do and can justify the decisions to do things a certain way - while supporting the children of course - then that is all good!

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- it helps children decide when they want snack, if they want snack and children will converse with adults more.

 

It also means that children don't have to be made to stop their play it they don't wan't to - we don't have to 'tidy up' and clear tables, it takes less time. I had been in several situations recently where the play and learning was just fantastic and we were all so engrossed, then suddenly someone shouts 'it's 10.30 everyone in for snack', the children all complained that they didn't want to. We did make a graudal change though, saying children could come in later for snack if they asked to, then we introduced it one day a week when we have a storyteller in, so the children don't have to spend so long sat down, and that worked so well that we now do it every day, unless there is a birthday when we sit around the tables and have a birthday cake.

 

There were a lot of benefits for us, but like other posters have said, it has to be an individual choice.

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Guest terrydoo73

We only have 7 more days until Easter break so I think we will persevere with it. We tried for 2 days working on the basis of everyone going to the bathroom together but the last day it was hard to persuade everyone to go so 1 went with 3. Our Registration authority frown on this - they say the third member of staff should be hovering between bathroom and playroom which is difficult when the third member for us is actually making the toast, preparing fruit etc

 

We have a couple of children who are the hardest to persuade to leave play simply because they are not with us every day - one of the disadvantages of taking full and part timers I guess. Something to think about in September.

 

We are in a dilemma at present as regards September intake. We have 7 children who will be in their preschool year come September and there are 2 children's registration forms also in for then - they are just turning 3 in September and October. We are waiting on a further 3 children completed registration forms - 1 turning 3 in July and 2 turning 3 in December. I don't know how to handle this situation and advice has been to take 2 intakes, one September and one in December. Some suggest no part timers or 3 years olds until after Christmas, others say take in a couple in September and then the rest in December. It is either this or look for 5 more preschoolers and have 12 children every day of the week without any hassle of trying to work resources or activities for 2 different age groups.

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Hi as you are just beginning to evolve i would take them as and when they arrive on your door. Then once you are full you can begin to have a waiting list and you can then decide when your admissions maybe throughout the year.

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we take children at any point throughout the year, as they turn 2 or as they arrive - if there's space. This means that there's generally only one child at a time in distress at being left by Mum, much easier to focus on and support.

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I have read all the replies with interest - we use Cafe system and it is brilliant, children use their self registration names to 'reserve' their space at the table, then they use anti bac gel to clean their hands, help themselves to a plate and choose their food, then take a drink and sit down. No one else has mentioned the use of anti bac so now I am wondering if we should be using it? - We have been inspected and no mention was made of the use of it. We also use it in Forest School but also have a large water container which we fill with warm water and soap.

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We are in a dilemma at present as regards September intake. We have 7 children who will be in their preschool year come September and there are 2 children's registration forms also in for then - they are just turning 3 in September and October. We are waiting on a further 3 children completed registration forms - 1 turning 3 in July and 2 turning 3 in December. I don't know how to handle this situation and advice has been to take 2 intakes, one September and one in December. Some suggest no part timers or 3 years olds until after Christmas, others say take in a couple in September and then the rest in December. It is either this or look for 5 more preschoolers and have 12 children every day of the week without any hassle of trying to work resources or activities for 2 different age groups.

 

 

what does you admissions policy say.. this is what you should be referring to when working out admissions.

 

we took children as soon as they reached their 3rd birthday... we only took form 3 yrs .. but had it been less would have been the same...

by age, when they reached admission age they would be able to start.. be it one week into a term, or middle...

that way only one child starts at a time, occasionally 2, the rest are usually settled and help with the process.. we found it so much easier than asking them to wait and coping with lots of new children at the same time. and parents always had choice of sessions we had available at the time..part time or full time... when they wanted more they had to take what was available if there were any..

Edited by Inge
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Guest terrydoo73

Our Admissions Policy which I wrote myself was written in January and on the basis of children turning 3 they would then be considered for admission. Our problem with this is it is not financially viable as we are not government funded and the rate we are charging parents is exceptionally low. The children we have at present are aged 3 and will remain with us until they turn 4 and are ready for moving to school in September 2012. The Committee need to make the decision whether they go down the route of making the venture financially viable or trying to secure a position within the community for a year or 2. We have been told that government funding will probably not come through for a year or two and until we know this for definate ... I am hoping the Committee will let me speak at their meeting and we can come to some decision as to what to do for the future. The government funding decision will not be made until June at the earliest but I am getting phonecalls now for 3 year olds not for preschoolers. The Committee is really looking to me for guidance and I am so unsure at present what to do for the best.

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I don't know if this will be a help or not but I recently attended some training on which we were advised how to set our fees in the current financial climate. We are sessional, morning only preschool, and while we do draw funding it doesn't cover the costs of running (surprise, surprise!). We were advised to have a working figure of how much it cost to run for a week or month, whichever was best for our situation. From there we should deduct our funding (as we know what that is and are pretty certain how many children will receive it). The figure which is left is what we need to bring in from our fees, and needs to be divided by the number of fee paying sessions on offer. In your case the calculation should be easier as you don't need to deduct the funding. It all sounds simple when put that way but it has made setting our fees much easier, although not easier to break the figure to our parents!

 

I assume you cannot claim funding yet as you are a new setting. It might be worth speaking again to the LA to see exactly how long that situation will continue and see if there is scope for an earlier consideration. I think I remember that your setting has been set up with a grant form somewhere (might be wrong there). If this is the case you could stagger the application of the full running costs by gradually withdrawing the support the grant is giving, making things less shocking for the parents. It would also be useful to try to find out what similar settings locally charge as if you still charge less than these then you should still attract parents. Hope some of that was a bit helpful!

 

Oh and we used to take children only at the start of Sept and Jan terms but now we accept 2 year olds (our youngest ones) at almost any time during the year if parents want to pay for them then. We sometimes delay for a few weeks, for example a child who was 2 at the very end of March is coming after the Easter holidays rather than do 2 weeks and then have 2 weeks off. It has been easier for settling them in and financially it has been a life saver this last year.

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We tried a rolling snack, where the food was available for the children to help themselves. The first morning 3 children ate all the food for 19!! That afternoon only 2 children managed to get something to eat!!

The rest of the week was no better. We were constantly in and out of the kitchen preparing more fruit and it cost us 3 times as much as normal.

We told our advisor and she said we had to try it for at least a half term!! We do not charge our parents for snack, it is included in the price of the session (£8.50 for 2 and a half hours). We gave it another week, that was all we could cope with!!

We now announce that snack bar is open and the children all tend to run into the bathroom to wash their hands and then line up to help themselves to their snack. When we next saw our advisor we told her, she observed snack, and she went away happy. The children sit down 8 to a table, a member of staff is there to offer assistance to the younger children and the children enjoy snack time now.

I think at the end of the day, you have to do what works in your setting. Try it for a week or two and then do what you think works best. We did!!! Ofsted were happy - we got GOOD at our last inspection.

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we have 6 chairs around a table in the snack area. Children chosen daily help perpare the snack, set out the chairs, plates and cups

 

We have the self registration board, bowl, tray and bin

 

when ready someone will ring the bell to let everyone know snack is ready

 

children come over when they want, they wash their hands, remove their name from the board and help themselves

an adult does over see it but really does not need to be there. This is very much an independent activity.

 

if the children dont want snack thats fine, if children are out side we often prepare a tray to take out

 

the children know if 6 chairs are full then they have to wait and come back later

 

we are open for about an hour.

 

I dont let children wander round with snack as a. i feel children should sit to eat and b. minimises the risk of choking or not being able to see a child choke.

 

the children when finished empty plates, wash and place on a tray

 

works very well and i wouldnt change it

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we take children at any point throughout the year, as they turn 2 or as they arrive - if there's space. This means that there's generally only one child at a time in distress at being left by Mum, much easier to focus on and support.

This is what we do as it does stagger settling children in and also if you have space but limit when children can start you lose money!!

 

Kris

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Our Admissions Policy which I wrote myself was written in January and on the basis of children turning 3 they would then be considered for admission. Our problem with this is it is not financially viable as we are not government funded and the rate we are charging parents is exceptionally low. The children we have at present are aged 3 and will remain with us until they turn 4 and are ready for moving to school in September 2012. The Committee need to make the decision whether they go down the route of making the venture financially viable or trying to secure a position within the community for a year or 2. We have been told that government funding will probably not come through for a year or two and until we know this for definate ... I am hoping the Committee will let me speak at their meeting and we can come to some decision as to what to do for the future. The government funding decision will not be made until June at the earliest but I am getting phonecalls now for 3 year olds not for preschoolers. The Committee is really looking to me for guidance and I am so unsure at present what to do for the best.

 

 

so I assume you take from 3 years old... we never differentiated the children into 'preschoolers and 3 yr olds' they were all treated the same and we used same planning and activities, differentiated for their needs... I never even considered anything else... cannot see any reason why..

 

you also have to remember that those 3yr olds now will be your intake for the following September as well... so will make it easier to fill the setting then...

 

best way forward for us was always take them as they turn 3, offer the places you had for parents to choose, each term we asked if anyone wanted to increase sessions and they then had a chance to add if we had space...

 

Don't try to overcomplicate things... filling the spaces is the object - to get the money in.. keeping spaces for children is often not financially viable..

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We have a cafe style snack but we always have an adult sitting at the table with the children. The staff all say they find it is a brilliant time for language development.

When we first introduced the system we did have to speak to a couple of parents who were concerned that their children were not given anything to eat. The truth was that they were encouraged to come to the table but chose not to. The parents then agreed with us that they would not starve by going from breakfast to lunch without any thing.

I am convinced by its benefits for us, but, as others have said, it is very difficult to implement in some settings, especially where the wash basins are not in the room.

Gruffalo2

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We also do a rolling snack and it works really well as the children can carry on playing if they are really engrossed in an activty. With regard to handwashing our setting purchased two portable sinks as we had issues with potentially scalding tap water in our village hall setting. We have the two sinks available in our main room at all times and this allows our children to independently wash their hands - they are made by Teal and they are called kiddiwash sinks.

HTH

Kirsty

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I'm concerned about their "Lifetime garranty" haha

 

It looks really good that! Something to consider. It only does 10 hand-washes though at a time, which is perhaps a bit small for us.

 

Thanks for the link

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