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Yet another snack-time question! Sorry!

In our Nursery, having tried out different ways of doing rolling snack - with limited success mainly due to lack of staff, we do our snack-time together. We do actually like having it together ('we' being the children as well as the adults) for the social benefits etc (I don't think many of our children actually get to eat with other people.) However, we always having after tidy-up time around 10.45pm, before key group-time and then home-time at 11.45pm or lunch-time at 12 noon for those who stay. We have avoided doing it at any other time to allow children to have extended periods of CI play but know that it is a bit late (and it has been commented on by the school cook especially when we have tidied up a bit late!) and we have the usual situation of waiting for children to finish.

Does anyone break up the CI time to have 'snack-time'? Does it work. I'm thinking that we could stop at 10am after the children have had a full hour of play, come to the carpet (allowing children to leave what they are doing with a minimal tidy-up), have milk and fruit while listening to the daily story, then they would be free to chat, drink & eat for as long as they like and go back to CI play when they are ready for another 45 mins-ish, which again would be still an extended period of time. This still leaves us enough time for key groups and home-time organisation with much less waiting around for children.

Anyone do similar?

Thanks

Green Hippo x

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We have whole group snack time. I bring my children in from the Preschool room to have snack with the little ones - some of whom are siblings. It's a great get-together time, and it helps children understand that we sit down to eat, and stay and wait until everyone has finished. Some children don't have tables at home, and I think it's important that they learn 'social manners' like these.

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We also have a set snack time, where all sit at tables with key workers where poss, I was asked by last ofsted inspector why we didn't operate a rolling type snack time, I just reeled off all the reasons we still felt it was a worth while experience, and she said "good I'm pleased to see it' :-). Not that it means the next one will have the same point of view :-/

 

Just edited to say what a relief it is to come out of the closet and admit it.....I thought everyone but us was on with rolling snack.....phew

Edited by mouse63
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I love snack-time too! Do you stop the flow of your morning for it though? Or do you do it after tidy-up time nearing the end of the session?

We have no-where separate that we can have our snack around tables unless we tidy-up properly first (and I don't think it's fair to ask the children to tidy everything away that they may want to continue with?) which is why it would have to be on the carpet (on jigsaw tiles of course so we don't get into trouble from the caretaker!)

Thanks for your replies,

Green Hippo x

Edited by green hippo
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We do tidy up time @ 10am followed by snack time (we have 2 snack helpers each day, that help prepare snack while others tidy and hand wash) we then have approx another hour free play, then group time before end of am session, depending on group activity may be one large group or split into home/staying groups.

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Cafe style snack does not seem to be the "in thing" any more I think that has now been handed over to "free flow". We were very against cafe style snack but took advice and trusted our Early years advisor and have done it for the last few years (sneaking in all together snacks when we can) I am a firm beliver in families sitting down together for meals (my favourite part of my day with my family) and think that it is getting rarer for families to do this. I will talk to my team about reintroducing whole group snack times a couple of times a week. Wonder what the next "in thing will be"? ;)

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I think we have to do what works well in our settings for our children. I'm not 'against' rolling snack-time as such just have never felt that it has been successful for us unless there is a member of staff dedicated to the cause, and we just can't afford a member of staff to be doing just snack! There are also many benefits of doing snack-time together as mentioned in the previous posts. As with many 'in' things - it starts as a idea which works well in one setting or maybe has been written about in a book etc , it then gets advised as a 'good' idea to other settings, then somewhere along the Chinese-whispers way it gets turned into 'everyone should/must be doing it' 'Ofsted like it' ... (a bit like the long/focused observation myth!).

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Hi we have a snack area partitioned off in a large hall and keypersons go with their key children.This happens from 10o'clock onwards and generally takes approximately 1 hour for everybody to go. If children don't want to come intially thats fine we just scoop those up at the end. Doesn't take long for all to come to our scrummy snacktime.

We have evaluated this part of our provision many times, have debated it many times with advisors etc, but we firmly believe at our setting this system works best. A wonderful learning experience on so many levels as well as a lovely social time. :1b

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our morning consists of a half hour session of more adult led activities, we then have snack with a key carers then the children have free flow child-led play for about an hour before they tidy up for lunch. I am quite 'old-skool' when it comes to snack as in the past have had cases of children who wouldn't access their water bottles at all unless prompted to, so having a set snack time allows us to ensure that all the children have at least had a drink during the morning. Rolling snack time throughout the session would be great, but our children roll in throughout the morning and having a member of staff to ensure that everyone has had their snack is not practical in a busy day nursery.

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We stop free play at around 10:15 for snack time and the children are always keen to come to the table. If we are running late they will ask when we are having snack.

 

We have always operated this way too and wouldn't change. ofsted have always been fine about it after we have given our reasons why.

 

 

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We run rolling snack but the children tend to come in groups with their friends when their play finishes so it is still social and they DO have to come and at least have a drink. It is only open half an hour so it doesn't take up a member of staff for a long time. We changed as we found trying to have snack with 20 children, half of them under 3years and not used to sitting at a table, was very stressful and not a good experience. It works really well for us and enables CL play to continue undisturbed but i have to say it has taken me nearly 20 years to make the change!

Edited by max321
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Oh boy, snack time is another bone of contention is'nt it?! Up there with planning... do we plan? when do we plan?....shall we go off-plan........?!

 

For years we did the traditional milk and biscuit circle....why not? WHY NOT??? Cos Advisor says 'How would you like to be the last one to get a biscuit?' ( crime of the century apparently ). Soooo we did everyone at tables together - snack time...'Oh no, you cant stop the childrens play in mid flow tsk tsk'!! ( points deducted for child cruelty there, I guess )! Soooo now we do rolling snack - rolling between 10 - 10.45ish.- table for up to six, staff member supervising, children independently choosing snack and washing up own cup/ plate for added psed points - must'nt miss a learning opportunity, ha ha ! What a performance.... Oh yes, and this is not forgetting - fitting in free flow, 7 areas of learning in an 'enabling environment', chasing 2 yr olds for a nappy change, observations, Learning Journeys and.......Oh pass me the digestives.....

 

Next Big Thing? No snacking between meals.....NH reccommendation.....re chiid obesity! Want a bet? Still loving it.... : )

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I firmly believe despite the whys and the wherefores each setting should do what suits them and their children.

 

Some of our nursery children need to eat at the start of the session others not until later.

 

If they start at 9am and lunch is at 11.30 unless it is a hot day (when we would chase children up to at least have a drink) I don't think this period of time absolutely and utterly means a child has to eat and drink. Some just don't need or want to!

 

Again, it's to do with what works well for you and I hope I wouldn't feel that if the rolling snack is now "out of favour" we would change what suits us and our setting.

 

Snack time is a social time with 5 children at the table at a time and they can always drag another chair or two over if needs be. Whilst a staff member does sometimes sit with the children this is entirely dependant on what is going on.

 

The staff do sit with the children at lunchtime though and have their own lunch at the same time too.

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well the thing is green hippo is doesn't really matter what we do ...it's wether it's right for you and your setting but playing devils advocate i would ask you if you feel 1hr 45 mins is enough for your CL...that means that the children are having 1 hr 15 minutes of adult led activities. This seems quite a lot and i am assuming that this is all done inside (happy to be proved wrong ;) ) So by changing your snack time is this going to improve this or make the situation worst?

As long as you know why you are doing something and can prove your findings then go for it. Sometimes we have to try things to see if they are a winner or not!

 

 

 

....i did say i was playing devils advocate :o;)

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it really does not matter how you do it if it is right for the children, not just convenience of the staff..

 

we did a compromise.. one table set up for about half an hour during free play.. groups of children came to the table when ready , staff member was able to spend time with them at this time for the interaction as they could also supervise those in free play from the table... children still had all the same as a group snack would have.. in small groups, they had all the same learning , sat at a table etc... They could leave play and return to same when finished, no queue for hand washing, waiting etc.. anyone who had not come was asked if they wanted to before we put it away. Monitored children using self registration names..

Drinks were always available so we felt unless a parent said they had no breakfast that the time between the 2 meals was not essential all had a snack, some did not need it , others did..

 

There is always something in favour at one time.. rolling snack has been in and out of fashion for 20 plus years.. was how we did it when I started working with this age group, and have found it come and go... if it works and you have reasons why it works, children benefit, go for it.

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Love in Finlaysmaid - I often ask myself all these questions (my own worst Devil!)

And...I am going to prove you wrong! Our key group times are a mixture of all sorts of things - indoors AND (shocked face!) OUTDOORS. Sometime we do sitting down things, sometimes moving, going for a walk around school, sometimes exploring P.E. equipment freely after a quick demo etc etc.

We tried it today (no time like the present!) and it did work well. The children had washed hands, got milk/water or fruit and listened to story by 10.10am. Most had pretty much finished, a few had not, some stayed for a chat, they went when they were ready. We will try it out for the next few weeks and evaluate it's success.

We do feel like we have a good balance of CI and TL time - our children are all 3 to 4 (we don't take rising 3s) and seem to cope well with the routine. By moving the snack-time to the middle of the morning means that it cuts down on the TL at the end of the session so it is in smaller chunks and there is less waiting around on the carpet for children to be ready or finidhed before the next thing - although we never sit doing nothing of course! It actually worked out that they had about 2 hours CI play today. Unfortunately, also we have to finish our session at around 11.35am to allow for children to get coats on, everything ready and walk round to the front of the school for parents. I know this is officially classes as TL time but it's unavoidable and not really 'learning' time! My only concern now is that because we have to have milk and fruit on the carpet it's not quite as sociallable as sitting at tables? (if I'm thinking of my arguement for OFSTED! ARRRRRG!)

xx

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but if they are sat next to each other surely thats social, maybe more so than sat more regimented at a table and having longer CL will benefit their social development anyway. Well done for trying something new though, it's never easy to bite the bullet and try something when what your are doing already is OK

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Thanks Max321, that's put my mind at rest, I just like to think of all the possible things that could be argued/critised! It was definately an improvement in terms of less waiting for others before and after! What also felt better was that we had a proper time for a story - I think it's so important for children to hear a story everyday (we choose 5 for the half-term to repeat unless a child has asked for a particular book - the children can recall the stories and join in with repeated refrains etc) and now it's not just slotted in at the end of the session if we have time. So I think they will benefit in one way or another!

Green Hippo x

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  • 2 weeks later...

We have snack in key person groups during CI time. We are flexible about the timing so that we try and avoid stopping the children when they are really deeply engaged so for example often one of the adults will say "my children are doing xyz right now does someone else want to do their snack group first? Obviously this way as opposed to rolling snack does mean that sometimes children have to stop what they are doing but we don't have a "tidy up time" before snack, one of the adults clears a table (usually puzzles or something that is easy to relocate incase children want to come back to the activity) and calls their key person group to have snack. Play continues around them but they get to have a nice chat in key person groups.

 

I like the way we do it - it works for us. I know rolling snack is all the rage but I am another one who really values that sitting down together and having a social aspect to it. I know some children would come in and chat in groups during rolling snack but I know there are children in my setting who might not. Also I highly doubt many of my children EVER sit at a table and talk while having their food so while it works for us we will stick with it, fashionable or not!

 

Mel

x

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  • 1 month later...

As an ex early years consultant (until my LA decided we were no longer needed and made us all redundant), I just wanted to say that it isn't true that we all insist on rolling snack. I have supported many settings in the past where they stopped for snack and all sat at tables together, and it worked really well. I'm less keen on children sitting on the floor with food and drink as invariably there are spillages and it means they don't get to pour drinks etc. So many of my observations of maths come from listening to children at the snack table, as do many of the snippets about home/families/friends etc and PSED.

 

I often sit at the snack table with children and eat a piece of fruit/have a drink but generally they manage the whole thing themselves (including refilling the water/milk jugs and washing up). I have 24 3-4 year olds and myself and a TA. The snack bar is open as soon as we've registered and stays open until tidy up time, with space for 8 children (although we will be making the table smaller at the beginning of next term as the class size is going up to 30, so we need the space). Some children go back to the table more than once during the session, if they want to sit with friends who they didn't get to have snack with earlier. The 'rule' is that they can only eat snack once, but they can have another drink any time they wish.

 

The important thing is to do what works for you and the children, and to have your reasons ready if anyone wants to know why you do it a certain way. Isn't that always the case in early years though ;-)

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