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I'm interested in hearing how other settings do their snack time.....

 

I did snack at our setting yesterday for the first time in ages, and it was crazy. I was up and down so much, getting bowls, more food, clearing and cleaning that I didn't spend hardly anything with the children chatting, that it really upset me. I've always been an advocate for the adult present making it a social learning experience for the children, and it opened my eyes that currently the system we have in place can't be seeing as I was barely sat with them!

 

So I'm really interested in how others dop their rolling snack, so we can put some changes into how ours is going right now.... Many thanks

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there are lots of posts about snack times if you use the search box.

 

we have free snack bar...there are rarely adults at the table ...the children sort themselves out and chat away to each other as they do so. We put a plate of each item out on the table ...the children help themselves to one of each (if they want it!) then have their own bowl and cup..which they tidy and put away in the washing up box ///so no clearing and cleaning for us...unless there's a spill!

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we had an adult sat at the table, but children sorted themselves out with getting own cup and bowl and food from a 'food station' next to the table , adult was within reach of this to help if needed but once they had the routine they seldom needed it.. they poured own drinks at the table and adult had a refill for the jug on the food station nearby.. and a cloth for those spills.

 

Children cleared table when finished , taking empties to a kitchen hatch in our case but could have been a box anywhere ready for washing up.

 

We too liked an adult to chat and model the behaviour we wanted and had a ratio that allowed it.. but the children were able to manage on their own..

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We have just started doing similar to Finleysmaid - snack is set out on a table, children take a bowl and choose their fruit, go sit down and pour a drink. Then take empties to a bowl after. This is out for around half an hour and staff check with children who haven't been up to the snack table as to whether they want any before it's put away.

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I know the children pick up the rules and routine, but frankly our children help themselves currently and they are supervised while doing that because they would just hoover up all the food leaving little for anybody else - we are constantly,it seems, reminding them about how much is "enough". it's only a snack not lunch!! I find it tricky. Our system is halfway between self-service and group snack time.

 

A member of staff preps the snack with a child in the kitchen. They put the bowls, enough cups and snack bowls, jugs of water on a tray and it is set out on a side table. After washing their hands, children line up, serve themselves with the snack items of their choice grab a cup and then at the table pour water for themselves, or have their own flask or milk which is poured by a member of staff. Staff talk to the children while snack time is on the go and when all finished sometimes "extra" is offered should there be any and then one child is chosen to collect up the cups, another the bowls and a third the jugs to take them out to the kitchen. It's a no fuss system really and from washing hands to finishing off maybe 15-20 minutes.

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I'm actually wondering why we put ourselves through snack time ...I know it's early days to where we were last term but even so it seems like chaos here to ...we do have a staff member rota'd on but what with trying to sort the littlies who think they need to wash their hands in the toilet rather than the sink, spills and the one who always seems to wee their self in front of the snack bar there is no hope of sitting down for a nice meaningful chat :(

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Okay at our setting the children go to snack with their keyperson. This is very much a social occasion. So lots of opportunity for enriched language development, physical skills and mathematics.

The children count how many friends, give out the cups to their friends, collect their name cards, pour their own drinks, then go to our snacktime trolley which has a selection of fruit/ vegetables and toast, crackers, crackerbreads, croissants, pittas or bread and butter.

These are on a weekly plan.

Even our 15 newbies have had ago this week already, with only one spillage,

Our snack trolley was purchased from Norseman direct and is absolutely fab.:)

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We have a staff member responsible for snack each session, we use our signing in board for children to remove their names to indicate they have accessed snack, we have portable hand wash unit and milk/water jugs on one table, then two options on table I.e an apple or carrot sticks then a bowl is placed under handwash table for children to put their cups in (and left over fruit lol) there is also the bin! staff just top up and wash pots other than that self serve for children, about 10 mins before it needs to close children are made aware of its closure x

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We have a staff member responsible for snack each session, we use our signing in board for children to remove their names to indicate they have accessed snack, we have portable hand wash unit and milk/water jugs on one table, then two options on table I.e an apple or carrot sticks then a bowl is placed under handwash table for children to put their cups in (and left over fruit lol) there is also the bin! staff just top up and wash pots other than that self serve for children, about 10 mins before it needs to close children are made aware of its closure x

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I'm actually wondering why we put ourselves through snack time ...I know it's early days to where we were last term but even so it seems like chaos here to ...we do have a staff member rota'd on but what with trying to sort the littlies who think they need to wash their hands in the toilet rather than the sink, spills and the one who always seems to wee their self in front of the snack bar there is no hope of sitting down for a nice meaningful chat :(

With you there Mouseketeer. I'm thinking of going along the lines of 'snacking' not being a healthy option - eating between meals and all that - obesity, tooth decay etc - Wonder if I'd get away with it?!!! I could deal with water only.......just! : ).

Feels like such a waste of time!!

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With you there Mouseketeer. I'm thinking of going along the lines of 'snacking' not being a healthy option - eating between meals and all that - obesity, tooth decay etc - Wonder if I'd get away with it?!!! I could deal with water only.......just! : ).

Feels like such a waste of time!!

I do know what you mean, years and years ago it was as simple as 1 biscuit and a drink, usually squash. or milk because it was felt children needed something to keep them going - their blood sugar levels were too low otherwise. Now snack time seems to have become quite a lavish affair, certainly at ours anyway, with choices, because children needed choices etc.

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We currently have a member of staff responsible in the snack area but they rarely get the chance to sit with the children as the independently accessing snack still needs policing(especially this time of year)

Children choose when to have snack and they wash hands and then take their picture of the signing in board.

I have laminated pictures of the snack items and a number that tells them how many of that item they can have. This is new this term and is working well with lots of discussion. These are Velcrod onto the snack bar so can be changed as and when. The children then pour their own drink at the table.

I love the idea of this lovely social relaxed time at the table, but as yet have still not managed to achieve it when doing cafe style snack!!

I do like Fredbears idea of the key person doing snack with their key children and think we may give this a go next week. Trouble is then I suppose the children are not being given choice about when they have snack and who with!! (Do you ever feel like you cannot win) :o

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We currently have a member of staff responsible in the snack area but they rarely get the chance to sit with the children as the independently accessing snack still needs policing(especially this time of year)

Children choose when to have snack and they wash hands and then take their picture of the signing in board.

I have laminated pictures of the snack items and a number that tells them how many of that item they can have. This is new this term and is working well with lots of discussion. These are Velcrod onto the snack bar so can be changed as and when. The children then pour their own drink at the table.

I love the idea of this lovely social relaxed time at the table, but as yet have still not managed to achieve it when doing cafe style snack!!

I do like Fredbears idea of the key person doing snack with their key children and think we may give this a go next week. Trouble is then I suppose the children are not being given choice about when they have snack and who with!! (Do you ever feel like you cannot win) :o

Frequently! Have been toying with the number idea myself, i do think it is a good reminder and should work well when you are having your relaxed cafe in a few months time! At the moment I have boys with hands like diggers scooping all before them!

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We have evaluated this area continuously and found this way works well for us now. As for the choice aspect of when they go, this would be the only stumbling block in its delivery, but all the other opportunities far outweigh this. By the way if a child really doesn't want to come when it's their turn that's fine, they will be asked one more time before snacktime finishes.

Water is available all morning/ afternoon and it is only a snack not a five course lunch after all. So i don't think they will starve on the odd occasion they haven't wanted to come, which i have to say is very rare as snack is rather scrummy.

I suppose if your snacks not working for you then you have nothing to lose by giving it ago.

Good luck.:)

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We assign a staff member to 'snack time' the children bring in a piece of fruit and parents are responsible for sticking their name label on the fruit then put it in a bowl. We offer snack from 10.15 and offer milk or water, the children clear their cups away and put any rubbish in a bin. We use their name cards to help with who has had snack. It does take time but a nice time for discussion.

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Hi Lorrie207. I like the simplicity of your snack time. As a small setting it is difficult to basically lose a member of staff to 'prepare' snack everyday. We offer toast and fruit, which we supply, free of charge, and milk and water. Do you have fruit available for those that forget and do you then charge for this?

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Gosh seems we are the only group that all sit together for snack :ph34r: , ours is (mostly) a lovely time with children and staff chatting Ofsted commented on how lovely it was :1b

oh no Thumperrabbit, we do all sit down together after the children have chosen their snack we have tried to do it as a cafe style inasmuch as the children have a side area, help themselves, have it when they want to etc. but we just can't get it to work well enough.

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we did whatever worked for each year, sometimes group, others cafe, and then the hybrid version of groups with keyworker / staff member using one table and rotating groups.. we always had one or two who were slow eaters and needed time so having a situation where they could take time and others come and go usually worked better for us.

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Gosh seems we are the only group that all sit together for snack :ph34r: , ours is (mostly) a lovely time with children and staff chatting Ofsted commented on how lovely it was :1b

Glad to hear your Ofsted Inspector liked your group snack time - this is where it becomes frustrating - when we had that style we we're told we were stopping children involved in play and we must have cafe style so they (once again) can Choose when they have snack!!

Grrrrrrrr. Personally I think children are having too much free choice these days!!

 

Do all those who have group snack have availabe 'free' tables to sit everyone together or do you clear activities away, for snack?

Edited by Rafa
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We have a rolling group snack. We clear one table with 6 chairs (+ adult). First group of 6 children are 'invited' to toilet, wash hands, find name card etc. As one child finishes another child is invited to snack until all have had chance. It is quite structured but even children who started with us last week are beginning to follow the routine. It works for us in the space we have and Ofsted were happy.

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Glad to hear your Ofsted Inspector liked your group snack time - this is where it becomes frustrating - when we had that style we we're told we were stopping children involved in play and we must have cafe style so they (once again) can Choose when they have snack!!

Grrrrrrrr. Personally I think children are having too much free choice these days!!

 

Do all those who have group snack have availabe 'free' tables to sit everyone together or do you clear activities away, for snack?

We have tidy up time and storytime as a group before snack, so most stuff tidied away. Children help themselves cafeteria style and sit where and with whom they want at the now clean and free tables! Ofsted didn't make any comments a few weeks ago.

 

I think the "choice" stuff and the "You're interrupting play came from LA support teachers and generally was advice - you either took it or you didn't!

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we stayed with our group snack time until last year, our last ofsted was fine with it, we only changed because of the 2 yr olds (yes them again) we always grouped children for snack time on diff coloured tables, they then went on to do a small group activity in their ability groups, but it meant someone was trying to do snack with all the youngest ones, so we tried mixing the tables up but this didn't work either, so we gave in and went to the snack bar.

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Hi Lorrie207. I like the simplicity of your snack time. As a small setting it is difficult to basically lose a member of staff to 'prepare' snack everyday. We offer toast and fruit, which we supply, free of charge, and milk and water. Do you have fruit available for those that forget and do you then charge for this?

Hi, yes we have boxes of raisins available.

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Ok so this will sound very stupid !! We have a rolling snack bar too, all children wash their hands when they want snack and go and sit down at thr snack table. Currently a staff member gloves and aprons up to prepare snack and then when the children come they choose what they want and the staff member serves it. Do your children juat help themselves , do you just monitor to make sure hands are washed or provide serving utensils so they can scoop some fruit out ?

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