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we set up a snack bar for the first time this year, and i want to do so again, but have had a few teething problems, and wondered if anyone has any ideas for improvement, or could share how theirs is run - times/maximum number of children who can come at a time etc. we're a school nursery class with rising threes too. we had it inside in september, in our messy room, and the older children quickly got the hang of it, and needed only minimal support. when 15 rising threes started in january they have needed lots of support, with lots of spilt drinks etc, and it has been hard to focus on anything else in the room, so adult led activities have been harder and observing the children in free play too. we have 37 children in the class. this is because the paint/dough/water/sand are also in the room, and new ones, especially rising 3's need watching with these activities, and lots of support and reminders! we have another room inside but it is carpeted, so it needs to be in the messy room. in march we moved it outside, which means spilt drinks are no problem!! but no one wants to come to it, as they are enjoying the lovely weather. i wonder should i keep it inside? and maybe limit the number of children who can access it at any given time. we have pint bottles of milk and cups to pour into

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Our cafe is open for the majority of each nursery session.

 

There are 5 chairs so most of the time only 5 children can snack at any given time. Occasionally we pull up an extra chair, but usually the children know if there's not a seat they have to come back later.

 

When new children come its usually trying to get them used to one item that needs lots of work. ie one drink, (though they can come back for water at any time) one piece of fruit and one other item ie plain biscuit.

 

One or two would just sit and eat and eat if we didnt watch them.

 

So when new ones start we are probably more vigilant and might have a staff member in that area. But it works with few problems.

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We have our 'snack den' outside, partly for spillage reasons and partly because some of our children never want to come inside. we sometimes run it indoors but we are in a school hall so we can easily clean up any mess.

 

My advice would be to run it as often as you can so everybody gets used to it and builds up their self help skills. Initially you get a rush, but soon the children realise that it will be there as long as it is needed and they don't miss their chance.

 

We limit it to the number of chairs around the table. sometimes children find another chair and bring it but it's not normally a problem (I consider that problem solving ;) )

We have register cards that they know to put in the box when they finish so we know who's had snack and who's not.

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i have run a free snack bar for over 10 years...so think i've just about got the measure of it! xD :rolleyes:

One thing i can see might be an issue with yours is the milk bottles, they are very hard to pour from and quite wide for the children to hold. We have 2 'addis' jugs with lids and a handle which we fill with a small amount of water or milk so that spills are minimised. I would recommend that small children stand up to pour too so that they can get the angle right! we also support this learning at the beginning of the year by having lots of pouring going on in the sand and water trays too.(we have 30 children from 2 and a half up)

in terms of the set up i find outside is fine for a treat but difficult to do all the time and we get pestered by lots of wasps and flies so we then have to cover the food (i don't like sweaty cheese either!!) it also gives the children a bit of time to cool off as our outside area can be a bit hot.

Like others our numbers are limited by chairs (but we usually have about 8). all the children have a small ikea bowl in which we put a cup and a label with their name. When they have washed their hands they help themselves to drinks and food and put their labels in the 'bucket'

hope the info helps

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We have a max of 8 children at the snack bar but in reality it is usually about 5 at a time. Ours is held in our messy area so there is usually a member of staff in the area supporting messy play who can help any of our littlies ( we take from age 2), the children self register so we know who has accessed snack and can give a little reminder to the others when it is getting near to closing snacktime (it is open for an hour morning and afternoon after we have done adult led activities). The children help themselves to fhe fruit and carb choice, milk and water is available in small jugs and they wash up after they have finished

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i have run a free snack bar for over 10 years...so think i've just about got the measure of it! xD :rolleyes:

One thing i can see might be an issue with yours is the milk bottles, they are very hard to pour from and quite wide for the children to hold. We have 2 'addis' jugs with lids and a handle which we fill with a small amount of water or milk so that spills are minimised. I would recommend that small children stand up to pour too so that they can get the angle right! we also support this learning at the beginning of the year by having lots of pouring going on in the sand and water trays too.(we have 30 children from 2 and a half up)

in terms of the set up i find outside is fine for a treat but difficult to do all the time and we get pestered by lots of wasps and flies so we then have to cover the food (i don't like sweaty cheese either!!) it also gives the children a bit of time to cool off as our outside area can be a bit hot.

Like others our numbers are limited by chairs (but we usually have about 8). all the children have a small ikea bowl in which we put a cup and a label with their name. When they have washed their hands they help themselves to drinks and food and put their labels in the 'bucket'

hope the info helps

that's great finleysmaid. will try jug, and standing up and keep inside, so nothing gets hot and children can cool off inside for a little while. we get them to move names too, and like others, learning to take just one piece is an isue at the start. what size is jug and where did you buy it from?

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We have a max of 8 children at the snack bar but in reality it is usually about 5 at a time. Ours is held in our messy area so there is usually a member of staff in the area supporting messy play who can help any of our littlies ( we take from age 2), the children self register so we know who has accessed snack and can give a little reminder to the others when it is getting near to closing snacktime (it is open for an hour morning and afternoon after we have done adult led activities). The children help themselves to fhe fruit and carb choice, milk and water is available in small jugs and they wash up after they have finished

 

how does the washing up work max321?

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We have a small sink unit near our snack area so we fill a bowl with washing up water and cloths and the children wash their cup and bowl and leave it on the draining board. At the end of the session whilst the children are doing large group activity a floating member of staff dries up and puts away

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these are like the ones we have... i think we bought ours in tesco's though.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Addis-Seal-Tight-Fridge-White/dp/B0009JLUXI/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1341088810&sr=8-4

 

oh and just another extension on learning at the beginning of the year their labels have a phonetically plausible picture on to remind them but by this time of year my school leavers just have their name and the same colour ...so that i really know that they know their name!!

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these are like the ones we have... i think we bought ours in tesco's though.

 

http://www.amazon.co...41088810&sr=8-4

 

oh and just another extension on learning at the beginning of the year their labels have a phonetically plausible picture on to remind them but by this time of year my school leavers just have their name and the same colour ...so that i really know that they know their name!!

 

thanks so much! sometimes you do not think of the obvious solution. i have just ordered 3!! amazon is my favourite shop.... x

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we operate a rolling snack bar as well, I asked on here if there was a setting near us who would allow me to come and watch their rolling snack, found this a big help! Our snack is in a quiet area that is used for circle time etc. We have milk and water in small jugs (foundthe jugs on a car spares site!!), the children pour their drink and put on the table then choose their snack. We have a maximum of six children at a time, children place their name card at a spare seat when they see one, this way we keep track of who has had snack. We take children from two and it doesn't take long for the little ones to pick it up as they follow the older ones. Our problem is lunchtimes, at present staff eat with the children which is fine but some of ours eat really quickly and then want to play but we still have about 70% still eating!! At the moment we ask the cvhildren to wait until everyone has finished but this can take upto 45 minutes!! Any suggestions?

 

Kris

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we have two luch times for staff early and late. If you are on the early you eat at 11.30 (when the morning session finishes) then the late one is a 12 this way we can have some staff on the floor to support lunch. How many staff do you have with the children, if you are in the same room can the children not just go off and play?

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The problem we have Finleysmaid is that at 12pm some children leave some arrive for the afternoon and some stay for both sessions. Although a private Pre-School we are based in a primary school so a lot of children (and staff) have the school meals which are served at 12.15pm! This means that we can have 26 children with 4 staff supervising and eating their lunch! I have suggested setting up a rota so that I cover a memebr of staff to eat their lunch then the next member of staff and so on however staff said they still wanted to eat with the children. And as there are quite a few children for lunch we have to clear the tables so there is room for everyone to sit down, once lunch is finished we set the room up again so the children can play.

 

Kris

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humm i see ...could you have a lunch box fun box with things the children could do at the table (colouring/small lego/min tubs of toys etc) that sort of thing, the sort of things i used to take in my handbag to keep my girls amused! perhaps they could go and choose one thing from the box and return to the table to play until everyone is ready......maybe teach them some simple card games?

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We had the lunch issue , ours used to choose a book and return to the table, then we could all look at it togehter, or children could - even those eating it did not disturb them too much, as they progressed we found some were using the pictures to tell a story to the others at the table..

 

they all had a favourite one which was a leaflet style book from the dairy council we were given loads of them with pictures of cows and other farm animals .. we often found 2 or 3 with those at the table discussing the animals.. think having the same book helped with their discussions.

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