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Oral Health & "Snack Time"


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Hi, I wonder if I can ask your opinion on our current Practice.

Background:

Preschool open for 3 hourly sessions term time only

We always used to offer a small snack with milk or water to drink.  Usually a small piece of fruit and something dry such as malted wheats or breadsticks. We always felt this was a bit of a faff and our time could have been spent better - but it was there.

During Covid at its height when there were lots of restrictions we decided to ditch the snack to prevent too many opportunities for hand to mouth and not always catching children to wash hands afterwards as well as before -  drinks were still available.

Interestingly NO child after the first day asked for "snack". Parents were aware of our change and were asked to let us know if their child had skipped breakfast - so we could give them something.

PRESENT PRACTICE:

Given that we only open for 3 hours, NO child asked for snack previously, we decided that given the ORAL Health initiative that we would continue as before - Drinks only.  Our thinking behind this is promoting not eating between meals, so benefitting both child obesity and oral health.  Parents have been notified of our practice and no complaints - so far.

OFSTED

Of course with every decision made we hold Ofsted in mind.  I am slightly panicking now in case we have an inspector who does not agree with our philosophy and we get a downgrade for not feeding the possibly not hungry?!  I have redressed this with my Team again and they still feel its the right way forward. So we are all agreed and happy with our decision and know we can 'defend' it if necessary.

We are due an Ofsted soon.  I wonder if anyone has some strong for or against comments and is their anything in The Stat ReQs that I have missed to say children MUST have snack?!

Thanks

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I guess you need to look at your cohort. Do they all eat well? are they getting breakfast? if you are not doing snacks how do you teach about healthy food options? I would suspect most children may need to have a small snack about every 2 hours (this may help to regulate blood sugars and avoid some behaviour issues too) . Schools do offer a morning snack of fruit or veg . 

You are correct in that i don't think there is anything written about ensuring there are snacks in the regulations, but it does talk about health and welfare ...would food come in to this?

Maybe try to consider snack time as a learning opportunity and reinvent it to support oral hygiene and health? If of course you decide to go without a snack time i would suggest writing down your decision and why just in case!! 😁 

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Before Covid we used to offer a selection of fruit and a breadstick/cracker. This stopped at the heigh of the pandemic and we haven’t gone back to it. We found it took a staff member away just to oversee snack.  
We now offer a plain biscuit/cracker/breadstick and a drink and it’s working really well. It’s less time consuming, we choose to have it as cafe style or all together depending on the morning. I understand what you are saying that it’s only 3 hours but we do find that most of our children are ready for a snack at about 10:30. You just never know what time the child got up and had breakfast or even if they did have breakfast at all. 
 

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We were inspected a couple of weeks ago. The inspector was very complimentary about our snack provision. It's not exactly a 'rolling snack' in the true sense of the word more a 'window of opportunity'. The 'snack bar' is open for half an hour during which time children are free to decide whether they want to eat/drink.

The inspector commented on how well it worked and how is supported children's independent skills.

What has delighted me is i have seen learning taking place that perhaps i wouldn't have seen otherwise.

The conversations/ supporting each other - the list goes on.

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Yes, thank you all for your good points!  We did have a good social/talking/independence opportunity before come to think of it, so I guess I will re introduce it.  Probably easier than trying to defend it because as mentioned, without it, there are of course lots of missed opportunities for learning! Thanks again all - The SNACK BAR is Open! 

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