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We have two snack times a day in Reception. Children bring in fruit from home and also receive one piece of fruit/veg from government scheme.


We have fruit in a carpet session just before or after break time with story or other input. Two children act as helpers and distribute the fruit. Seems to promote caring, politeness. Also good for reading name labels on friends fruit boxes, pieces of fruit. A 'suggestion' from an advisor this week was that though this system did have positive aspects she thought we should consider having a free flow system in operation with children moving name cards from one board to another when they have eaten their snack. Thus avoiding time wasting and increasing independence.


I can see her point but also feel that it won't help in transition to rest of school where class have pm fruit break mid afternoon. Also think it is promoting snack whenever you like philosophy. Ok the snacks are healthy but I'm still not sure of that as an idea. My teaching partner's view was similar to mine and also raised the concern of health and safety. What happens if someone begins to choke? On the carpet with teacher led session this can be quickly spotted and dealt with. Though I have to say it hasn't happened to me yet. Hope that's not tempting fate. :o


Any thoughts folks?



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My thoughts are, just like many things in life, there are pros and cons to both ways.


I tend to agree with your thoughts though - we have a fruit time altogether just before break with a teaching input or story. It is nice to come together as a whole group, and as you say there is so much PSHE, maths (counting, sharing, dividing), KUW - where does this fruit come from etc etc. This would be lost at a help yourself whenever you want.


Also some parents are quite keen to know if their children have had fruit and it would be easier to monitor if they all eat together.


We do sometimes have a lot of fruit left over, which we keep in a fruit basket, and in the afternoons the children often do just help themselves (asking first) as I would much rather the fruit be eaten than thrown away.


Do what works for you.

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We have worked both ways and currently opperate free flow snack as we find this less disruptive. We have an area where children must sit to eat their snack and this is in view of at least one member of staff so do not feel it is a safety issue.

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There has been other discussions on this topic, try search for lots more examples of others experiences.


I personally have used the free flow snack method for 10 yrs. I see it as a way to promote independence, healthy choices, hygiene ( children learn to remember to independently wash hands without having to be reminded, before eating) and my main focus if for the children to develop physically "control over their own eating". This I feel is a lifelong skill and not about the next step in their "young" life.


Yes, there are learning opportunities when "activities" are done as a group, but there are other activities other than "eating" to learn these in- ie; story, mat time etc.

There isn't any opportunities in other areas of the curriculum / session / routine for children to learn control over their own appetite. To be able to recognise thirst and/or hunger and have access to meet this basic individual need for themselves.




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