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on and settles down
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Mar 10, 2016

Food for thought...


This article is taken from our March 2016 Parents Newsletter:

Creating independent thinkers and doers is one of our priorities as early educators at Polly's. We also want children to develop important social skills (like how to share, take turns and to be kind, considerate and helpful etc) because these things help us to make friends and get along with others.

We also want children to develop good listening and language skills because this makes expressing our ideas and thoughts and communicating with others easier and more fun.

Then there's maths: it's important to know about counting and numbers and shapes and colours isn't it?

And, of course, most of all we want our children to be healthy and happy.

If you are now thinking: 'That's all great but what on earth does this have to do with snack time!?' please stick with me!

When writing this article, I asked my husband if he could remember his snack times as a pre-schooler (not at Polly's!) and whether he learned anything during them. 'Yes' he said, 'I learned that milk was cold in winter and warm in summer and that there was only one type of biscuit in the world. We sat there quietly and the grown-ups did everything for us'.

Fortunately, the world has moved on. Nowadays snack times (and all other meal times) at the best early years settings are interesting and fun and carefully designed to nourish the minds and spirits, as well as the bodies, of our young children.

For example, at Polly's our pre-school children help to set the table for snack (first covering it with a table cloth and then counting out chairs and cups and plates etc to ensure that everyone has what they need). Children help to wash and prepare the fresh fruit and vegetables we will be eating and we talk about the names, origin and physical characteristics (colour, shape, texture, quantity etc) of the food we're preparing and we learn how to handle the tools we're using safely.

Having washed and dried their own hands, children find their own place at the table. They do this by finding the place mat that they have made and upon which they have carefully written their own name. Sometimes we have fresh flowers on the table. At other times we have a centrepiece, which we call a 'talking point' (maybe somthing we've collected on a walk or a model a child has made) which is used to stimulate discussion and conversation among the children.

Children take turns to carefully pour their own drinks from a jug (which we only fill a quarter of the way so it isn't too heavy for them to manage) and to choose and serve themselves to what they'd like to eat using tongs or serving spoons.

At the table, the adults present encourage good manners and discussion. We talk about healthy eating, our most and least favourite kinds of food and about how the food we're eating gets to our table. We share stories and experiences from home, ideas about all sorts of things and we talk about what we have been doing and about what we're going to be doing.

After we've eaten the children help to clear away, collecting cups and bowls and plates and wiping the tables and sweeping the floor. If there have been any liquid spillages children know to go and get the 'wet floor' sign to alert their friends and help keep everyone safe until the spillage is cleaned up.

Meal times in early years settings shouldn't simply mean a break from whatever else is going on to 'feed and water' the children. They shouldn't mean children 'just sitting there' while adults do everything for them. They should be considered as a time for learning and development. They should be treated as opportunities for adults to support young children's quest for independence, chances to cultivate children's ability to think and do and, of course, to show children how good it feels when we work together and help each other.

 

 

 

Oct 19, 2016
Recently published analysis of Ofsted inspection results shows that our nurseries are two of only five early years settings in Gloucestershire to be awarded an 'outstanding' inspection judgement in each of their three most recent inspections...
Mar 10, 2016
Meal times in early years settings shouldn't simply be about 'feeding and watering' children. They should be considered as a time for learning and development. The best early years settings treat mealtimes as opportunities for adults to support children's quest for independence, as chances to cultivate children's ability to 'think' and 'do' and, of course, to learn how good it feels when we help each other.
Feb 6, 2015
The wheels on the (mini)bus will be going 'round and round' early tomorrow morning as a group of fourteeen members of the Polly's team head up to London to attend seminars at the Nursery World Show 2015...
Feb 5, 2015
This is a fabulous opportunity to join a friendly, supportive and successful nursery team and work towards a nationally recognised Level 2 or Level 3 childcare qualification.
Feb 18, 2014

It's half-term, so I took the day off work today and 'treated' my three children to... a day of sponsored litter picking in aid of CLIC.

Mar 4, 2013
There has been plenty of coverage in the media recently about proposals to allow nurseries and childminders in England to raise ratios but is this a good idea..?
Jan 24, 2013
Good morning!  We are happy to inform you that both nurseries are open from 8am this morning. We have cleared and salted the nursery parking areas, but with such very low temperatures, please exercise caution when you arrive/depart.  Unless we get any more snow today we anticipate a normal closing time of 6pm. Please arrive in good time to collect your children so that our nursery nurses can also leave on time. Thank you!
Jan 23, 2013
Good morning everyone.  We are happy to let you know that Polly's at Inchbrook will open at 8am today. Unfortunately, we had a lot of snow overnight at Brownshill and therefore Polly's at Brownshill will open at 10am.  This will give us time for staff to get in and for us to clear the snow from nursery paths and parking areas. It is currently snowing in both locations so we will need to monitor the situation and decide whether we need to close earlier today so that children and staff can get home safely.
Jan 22, 2013
Both nurseries are open from 8am today.  We've had a sprinkling of snow overnight, so please exercise caution on approach roads and parking areas.  Unless we have any further snow today we plan to remain open until 6pm.  If it does snow today, please contact the nursery or check back here for an update.
Jan 21, 2013
Both nurseries are open from 8am today and, unless the weather changes and more snow arrives, we will work to our normal closing time of 6pm.
Jan 18, 2013
Both nurseries are open but will close at 1pm today.
Jun 15, 2012

Thank you to everyone who entered our competition to win a pair of tickets to see Madness in concert at Westonbirt Arboretum later this month. We have just drawn the winning entry and can tell you that the lucky winner is...


May 10, 2012
Schools, nurseries attached to schools and childminders receive prior notice that Ofsted will be coming to inspect them.  Meanwhile, playgroups and private nurseries receive no notice of inspection.  In this blog we question whether an inspection approach that gives notice to some but not to others is fair...
Mar 21, 2012
High quality play and first-hand experiences lead children to the richest and most enjoyable discovery and learning and so these are what we want for our children.  However, a potential problem for us as early years practitioners is that few high quality play and first-hand experiences result in a tangible 'end product' (a painting etc) that parents can see and easily appreciate.
Feb 28, 2012

This is our first ever blog and we're using it to let you know what happened when Ofsted came to visit us recently!