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Hi,

 

We had a visit from our improvement advisor yesterday who said we should not sit down all together for snack but should have a snack bar which the staff go to as and when the children do and we should let the children cut their own fruit and pour drinks as and when they want them.

 

I think this would be lovely to do except all our children are 2years old and one in particular is being observed as possibly special needs, she has no speech or understanding of rules/boundaries. for example, she attempted to paint the wall the other day and when we said no she just kept trying until we took the paint away! my worry is that she spend most of her morning at the snack bar cutting up fruit and pouring water as she would find this very enjoyable but obviously it would mean there was nothing left for the other children when they choose to have their snack.

 

Hope this makes sense and someone has some advice. :o

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I've been under the impression for sometime that the snack bar is the new black, I think most LAs are trying to promote it.

But, I'd do whatever is best for you and your children. I can see the benefits of it, afterall, as adults we eat and drink when we need to dont we, well, unless we're working of course. Our children know they can ask for a drink at any time before snack and we like to use snack time as a social time, all sitting together and chatting.

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Not sure if this will help but I can explain how our snack works as like you we used to all sit together and like you we have 2 year olds!

We have a table set up for 6 children, when the children see a space they collect their name card put it in the space and wash their hands, they then choose their snack ie breadsticks, cheese, carrots and put that on the table then collect a cup and a small jug (so minimal spillage) with water or milk in which they pour themselves. Once they have finished they put all their cups etc into a washing up bowl. Now the 2 year olds do need a little bit more support at the beginning but soon get the hang of it, and once they have been to the snack table and eaten they cant come back for more food however they can access a drink all the way through the session. A member of staff is always in the area to support and when there are only a few children left we ask them if they would like snack as the snack bar is about to close, now I supervised snack today and we had 26 children 6 of which were 2 year olds and the whole snack time took 45 minutes with me just keeping an eye on things.

Not sure if this has been much help, dont know where you are but if in Essex you would be more than welcome to come in and see how it works, that's what I did when a very nice FSF member invited me to visit!!

 

Kris

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I can see the benifits of both ways but i would also say do what is best for you, i used to like sit down snack and got Oustanding but i know of other inspectors who like rolling snack. i think as long as you can prove why you do it the way you do then stick to it. :o

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from your other post i am assuming it is 5 children and 2 staff... when we had low numbers and a snack bar they all came at the same time anyway.. they saw one eating and just followed, only when we had larger numbers they learnt to wait for a space to join them..

 

it was still social as they chatted in the group that was there at the time, and it stopped the queues fro toilet and hand washing, and the waiting for others to finish.

 

but we assessed the children each term and went with what was best at the time, for us it was mostly a snack table, but as I said when numbers were low it made little difference .. so we set it up at a certain time each day and a staff member sat with them , we cleared up when all had been.

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We have trialled snack bar a couple of times for a term at a time and for our group we just don't get along with it, it just works better sitting down together and that 's that.

 

An adult + one child prepares snack, obviously different child each day. After a cursory tidy up time, Children go out to wash their hands, the loos are in the lobby area, but in essence this is part of the hall two adults supervise that. The tables are laid with jugs of water. The children come back into hall after hand washing find their name put it in the box pick up a bowl choose their snack, pick up a cup or use their flask and sit wherever they wish. Milk is poured by adults, water by the children. If there is any spare snack left over (ha ha!) we then go round the tables distributing it. Snack time takes 20 minutes, plus adult time prepping with a child, possibly another 10 minutes. Adult is in the kitchen with the child, but we have a large serving hatch so we can see them and they can see all of us. Adults have their drinks at the same time, standing at the serving hatch taking it in turns to drink or be with the children at the tables.

 

I think when you are used to your own operation it is very slick, when you try to change it, it takes some while to "bed" it in with children and adults alike. If you change, don't expect to get it right straight off. The notion of snack bar always appeals to me, the practicalities of it for us don't. If you want to stay as you are resist pressure to change. If you can give the children as much choice within your way was possible who's to say it's wrong. As long as children can access drinking water at any time this is the most important thing I believe. We aren't in a deprived area by any stretch of the imagination, rarely does a child attend our setting who has not eaten before arrival, I've had one or two still eating upon arrival, but if a child was hungry we would just quietly take them into the kitchen and offer them some pre-snack nibble!

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Thanks for your quick replies. Thanks for the invite Kristina but I am in Leicester so too far to come and visit.

I think we will stick to snack together for the time being but allow children to pour their own drinks and choose

snacks. We are due ofsted any time as we are a new setting so don't want them to think we are totally

unorganised or anything so I think this is the best way for us. :o

Edited by klc106
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Hi we have discussed this as a provision with the staff team many times. Our conclusion for us is that we continue to have snack with our keychildren going on throughout the morning. A wonderful social situation, children help to give out cups, plates, collect name cards etc.

Yes the staff do eat and drink with the children too, so the children learn from example. Certainly works best for us.

Yes and Ofsted have seen us do it this way, as well as our Early Years Development advisor.

Go with what works for your setting and if any one asks when they visit explain your reasoning behind it. :o

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I agree with everybodyelse, go with what suits your children. There is no 'should' do snack bar or 'should' do group snack.

 

 

I have always liked sitting down as a group for snack. However, we have a very different cohort this year so we are at the moment trying to tweak our snacktime, to something that is a combination of group snack and snack bar. I think it is better for the children but staff have taken a while to come round because I think they like routine. They are gradually coming round, and I would say it is still bedding in, quite often no two snack times are the same - last week for example we had hot dogs and hot chocolate as a group outside around the 'campfire'.

 

 

This what we are doing. At 10.15 a member of staff and the child special helper set the tables for snack (a great counting oportunity). They sit at the table and start to prepare snack, children join as they want to having washed their hands. They can spread their own bread, crackers etc. We have this week also introduced a fruit bowl for children to choose what fruit they want to share. Great opportunity to talk about shapes and fractions, and seeds. Children seem to be eating more fruit too, and trying different fruit. Children can get up from the table as soon as they have finished, putting their dirty cups and plates into a washing up bowl nearby. One thing I keep forgetting when I do it, is the name cards, so I like the suggestion of putting the name card on the table before washing hands. The children go back to playing and a member of staff does the nappies/toileting. Luckily we have toilets in the main playroom. This works well with two members of staff at the moment with 12 children (tops), with no more than 4 2 year olds. Children pour their own milk and water. There are some spills but not too many and we never worry about it. Around 10.30am we round up any children who have not had snack, generally a few children outside, but not always. Snack time seems less disjointed, and to take less time too.

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Hi

 

We used to do group snack a couple of years ago but was frowned upon by moderators and advised to change it to continuous snack. This being where the snack is already prepared and set up and the children come for it at any point during the session whenever they are hungry. We were advised that group snack was taking too much child initiated time away from the children. We would argue that it provides time for the children to socialise developing their PSED skills. Anyway we moved from this to continuous snack and it works really well for us. We are a Foundation unit so have continuous snack with the Reception class too. This allows the older children to be a role model for the younger ones developing their language for communication. We have a table set up with 10 chairs around, milk cartons with straws and a jug of water at the side, fruit and a different snack each day. The children choose what they want, sit at the table until they have finished and then tidy away their mess. We monitor any new children that come in to Nursery and model the snack area until they are confident and then the children are left to prepare themselves. Although you are always aware of the snack area and are over seeing it during your other duties it is something you can leave the children to get on with, whilst you focus on your focused activity, look, listen and notes, learning stories, modelling play etc. I do agree though that you have to find what works best for your children!

 

hope this helps

 

kate

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Just to add how we do things....

 

40 children in session with upto 20x 2 years olds!

 

We prepare the snack in the morning and put childrens name cards around the milk cartons or water (if they are allergic etc).

Snack opens at 10 am. Children see if there is a space, wash their hands at the portable sink and then help themselves to what they want for snack eg using tongs for fruit, veg,or buttering own toast, cracker for cheese. They put plate down on the table and then collect their ,milk with their name card on. When finished they put milk carton on tray and then put dirty plates in box. Staff can monitor who has been for snack by the name cards.

 

2 years olds soon get used to it by watching others and there is always a staff member sat where snack is served to help with tongs etc. Works well for us and we would not be able to seat 40 children all at once!

 

Hope this helps

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We have a cafe for snack time, where 5 children can access drinks (water in a jug with plastic cups or milk in cartons) and snack (fruit) at any time during the session when they see the "OPEN" sign.

The cafe usually opens at about 9.15 until just before tidy time.

 

When we have new children we have lots of adult input modelling what to do, where to put cups/ milk cartons afterwards but it takes very little time before the children are "policing" it themselves. They are quick to shout when someone is having more fruit than necessary etc!

 

We do also provide a plain biscuit at the table as we found because of the area we serve many children were really hungry at the start of the day (due to no breakfast) and so we decided for our children we would offer a biscuit but only a plain one such as rich tea.

 

Prior to the cafe we all sat down together so everything had to be tidied away, big queues to wash hands. Lots of time wasted. Some children did not want a drink at that time. . . . . . after moving to the cafe system we wondered why we had done it the other way for so long!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Our very first Ofsted in 1998 was when we were all sitting together and we tried to use the time whilst we were waiting for everyone to catch up by listening to world music. . . a different country each week. The O people did not like it at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

We changed it soon after!!

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