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How do others manage snack time in a reception setting. We began by having snack tim ein groups we felt that this gave the children time to develop social skills and to engage in converstaion. This often became rowdy so we chose a topic ech day for children to discuss. However this did not really work either. We currently have a snack stop where children put their name in the box when they have had their fruit and milk. However a lot of children are now only drinking a little of their milk and then binning it and the same is happening with fruit. We cannot afford to have an adult at all times at the snack stop and are not really sure what to do to make snack time more successful. #Any ideas? How do others do it?

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I would be interested inthis too, Our nursery was praised by OFSTED 3 years ago for the structured shared snack time around tables and we have carried this on in reception, iht children sitting aorund tables, drinking and eating/talking at the same time. However, I am aware that it takes a fair bit of time. I wouls be interested to hear how others many snack time too in a reception class (ours is not the largest room)- we have mixed R/Y1 and it gives ideal time for me to work for 10-15 mins with Y1 in maths whilst the TA supervises snack. How do people manage the cutting of fruit/ storage of cold milk in a rolling snack? We wouls be much like you , Lola, in not having an adult to supervise a snack stop as there are 2 of us (and one needs to be outside as it is not directly observable form inside). Any brilliant ideas?

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our snack time is straight after playtime. Children come into quiet music playing, sit in a circle. 2 children are chosen each day to be fruit and milk monitors... handing out milk and fruit. While this is being done I either read a quick story or have a questions and answer time with our class teddy. The children do their own straws and the fruit is not cut up for them either. The class I have just had were liked ganets and loved their fruit. :D I found that it took about 15mins... quite a while really but the quality of talk was always really great; if I was pushed for time then I would let the children have the fruit later in the day or take it home.

I love the idea of the snack bar/self-service routine but would worry about monitoring this; come children like to take more; some will only have the bare minimum or not at all.

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Up until last year I've always had the traditional snack time of sitting in a circle, eating and talking together. However, I was finding it too a lot oftime up and whilst some of this time was valuable, unfortunately a lot was not!

 

Last year we did similiar to you Lola, with a snack bar which the children accessed when they wanted to. There were some problems though - either they had loads of milk and fruit each (which I personally don't have a problem with as I teach in quite a deprived area where many of our children don't have breakfast / healthy food at home) OR many children weren't having any at all.

 

So.. this year we're going to try something a similar, but with a few changes (which I saw in a local school):

 

In the morning the children will put a label round their milk (photo on elastic band) and leave it at the snack bar. They will thrn be free to have their milk whenevr they want, and will be encouraged to leave it on the table so that we can see who is having it and so they can come back for more if they don't want it all in one go. With the fruit, we'll either get the children to put it with their milk at the beginning of the day, or just have a bowl at the snack bar which the children help themselves to with their milk. (Not sure how to work this - might just wait and see)>

Edited by Guest
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We use the label round the milk idea but still have the problems of children drinking only a few sips before binning it (not sure how to get round that as some children would do this even if an adult was present) We always have lots of fruit which is put out in bowls for the children to help themselves and if children want more they can ask an adult. The children know they can have one piece of fruit each and if they want more to just ask(also in quite deprived area). This works well for us.

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I have found it is so easy in a reception class to save time and rush outside and take fruit/milk with you to eat on the hoof.

Over the last year we have realised that the children are not only not eating or drinking it all, they are missing out on the social interaction and speaking and listening skills that they so need.

We now sit around the tables, they can choose where they sit and the children take it in turns to give out milk, water and fruit or veg. They are encouraged to eat or drink as much as they want and the majority do drink most of their milk (we are in a socio-deprived area too)

The fruit and veg is a different tale - it depends what we get sent that day as part of the free fruit and veg scheme! Strawberries (once a year!) goes down well, as do apples, bananas, oranges, carrots and pears. The cherry tomatoes and mini-cucumbers were more of a challenge but every child does at least try, and we usually have something else left over from the day before - if it's not all disappeared in seconds!

To answer the storing milk dilemma - we have just had a free milk fridge delivered - Hertfordshire must have just changed their milk contract I think! This is great as it keeps all the milk and water, lunches etc cool! I wonder if it worth asking your County if there is such a freebie fridge thing going in your area?! (They are all very posh, glass fronted door etc. great for storing beer in at an end of term retirement do too! Oops - not sure that is very PC!)

 

Liz x

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Waht do you do ith regards to children eating fruit ho don't like it. I tend to encourage them to try it and their have been a number of children who have progressed from a lick to know eating the whole thing! However the leady i team teach with is quite firm about the fact that children should be made to eat the fruit. It becomes a time of day which i dread as children in her group are in floods of tears and we got to the end of the year with quite a few parents coming in because their children were not wanting to come to school because of snack time. I do feel that making children aware of a healthy diet is important however i do not feel it is worth that much upset. How do others feel do you encourage children to have a try or make them eat it all?

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I always encourage children to try their fruit and in the end most children end up eating the fruit with all the positive praise that we give them . :)

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We encourage everyone to try but wouldnt force anyone to eat something they didnt like (I have seen children be physically sick) One way we find children are happy to try new things is to present it in a fruit salad/salad which they help to prepare seperately from the snack area. We supliment the free fruit and veg with lots of different types they may not have experienced at home. Mangoes passion fruit and figs are quite popular.

 

The baby cucumbers were a firm favourite with our children much to my surprise.

Edited by Marion
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Our children bring their own snack into nursery. They are only allowed to bring fruit or veg, we provide milk and water. We have a running snack bar, children find their own snack box and choose a drink, whenever they choose. Some children attend the before school club so they are ready for snack at 9.30 (when bar opens) others obviously breakfast later and eat at 10.30 (snack bar closes about 10.40 to accommodate this late rush!) Some children bring fruit juice for snack time if ther parents want them to, I would prefer that they didn't but that's down to school policy I'm afraid-older children are allowed to so we have to! I have a box of boring biscuits -rich tea or digestives which are kept for emergencies or if a child really won't eat fruit. I find that by putting the onus on the parents most children will eat their choice of fruit/veg. Once a week we have a 'special snack time' children prepare fruit/veg for others to try, this is as an extra to theiir own fruit and means that some children taste different things that their \Mums swear they won't eat at home. We don't get free fruit, how do you qualify for it?

Barb

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I know that the nursery school we feed from are not entitled to free fruit and veg, something about not being attached to a school?! :o Doesn't make sense to me but the sites in the previous posting should make it all clear.

 

Liz x

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Very much a free chat time, is a chance for adults to sit with a group and encourage the usual pleases and thank yous, good manners and table manners. Once everything is given out it is a good chance to have a chat. You know how much information can be gleaned from an informal chat, who is worried about what, what mums say about us all and other tit bits that a child may not volunteer if directly asked a question! I also find that the children love sitting with you and also of they see you eating a piece of veg they may have a try too.

 

Liz x

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I work in a school and children wo are under 5 get free milk - after they are 5 parents pay and are usually more than willing to do so. All of our children get free fruit and veg.

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We do fruit twice a week where we all sit down together, prepare the fruit and then eat together. On two other days adults prepare vegetables and we have an open snack bar where children can come and go as they like but we also offer a biscuit at group time on the vegetable days. Milk is only offered during the group sit down whereas water is offered throughout the session and at the open snack bar. It does all take time especially when the children prepare the fruit but there is always no end of helpers and it does help them with use knives - I really enjoy the exercise but I do know that it can be quite stressful when some children don't know how to handle a knife. We also do not operate an open snack bar because we need a tiime time to clear away some of the heavier items of furniture, climbing frames, playhouses etc so we need the children all sat down and away from danger, hence our not offering an open bar all morning. We do however have concerns about how long the first table have to wait. Washing hands table by table takes some time and the first out often have to wait for the last table to finish but there again we cannot clear everything away as quickly as that. We are constantly thinking about how we can reviwe this but as yet have not come up with anything - ideas please?

So I don't think there is an easy answer - trial and error I think and what best works for you in your setting.

Nikki

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I think maybe part of the problem in our settin gis that we have come to view snack time as something which needs to be done and something which is a chore to do. We don't look on snack time as a beneficial session as we would, for example story time. I think in our setting we need to focus on the benefits of snack time and view it more as a session rather than an inconvienience. Maybe we need to take your lead Nichola and spend time on preparation and focus on the social benefits of group snack. There is certainly a lot to consider!!

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Children at school just take out the whole box of fruit and help themselves. They are encourage to try - but not forced.

However, Y1 teacher has commented that children's eating habits are poor and wants to introduce a structured snack time in Y1 (sh'e also KS1 co-ordinator)

Although I admit I hate the length of time this takes, feel in full approval, especially at the beginning of term where children need routine and it also is something that seems very familiar to their preschool experiences/ routine.

Maybe as the year develops the children can begin to take their friut out with them. There is also all the social aspects that are incorporated into this etc.

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Hi

just thought i'd add what we do to the discussion. Our children bring in their own 'healthy snack' or purchase it from the 'fruit lady' (kitchen prepares and cuts up small snack sized pieces of fruit in bowls which is available for whole school). We initially have our snack time earlier than rest of school and sit out side on benches or walls eating our fruit. Milk is available to all under 5's free so after a play we go in, sit at our tables and drink our milk either talking or listening to music or video story. We also get free fruit for all infants in the afternoon... so after tidying up and before end of day story we have our fruit/veg snack. It does take a while but it is an important time to promote healthy eating and good eating habits and manners as well as social talking time for the children. The children also all have a water bottle on the table which they can drink from as the need arises. :o which is very often in the early stages of reception.

 

Ruth xD

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Milk has to be paid for in our school in Reception and Y1and 2, unless children get free school meals. it is surprising how many are entitled to FSM and don't realise or apply for it. We are trying to encourage parents to apply if we know they are entitled, although County has made it difficult by only encouraging on line applications - not many of the parents you want have a computer, we are thinking of organising drop in sessions on the internet for parents for this form filling exercise.

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