“Early years settings provide an ideal opportunity to encourage young children to eat well and learn about food. This not only helps protect their health while young but also sets the foundations for their future health and well-being.”
–Action for Children
We have a nutritionist who comes and talks to the children about healthy eating. The children are always encouraged to try different foods. This always proves to be a fun and exciting session.
We pride ourselves on serving fresh, tasty food to the children in partnership with our supplier. Halfway through the morning the children are given a snack. This is usually made up of a savoury biscuit, fruit or a mixture of carrot and cucumber sticks and cheese and they are offered milk or water to drink. Snack time is the perfect opportunity to “demonstrate friendly behaviour, to initiate conversations and to form good relationships with peers and adults” (Development Matters).
Good manners are always encouraged and demonstrated and it is wonderful for the children to sit and talk together, taking a break from all their many activities. When they have finished their snack, they enjoy reading a book quietly on the mat whilst they wait for the others to finish.
Lunch at the Nursery
The children who stay for lunch really do enjoy lunchtimes. Delicious food is always on offer and there is always something tasty to enjoy. A typical main meal might be chicken noodles, penne pasta in tomato sauce or herb-and-garlic-roasted chicken drumsticks. As an alternative, jacket or sweet potatoes with a range of fillings are always available, and a there is a vegetarian option. The vegetarian option might typically include butternut-squash-and-thyme risotto or brie, red onion and tart.
Vegetable side dishes are also served. For example crushed new potatoes, roasted carrots and courgettes. In addition, there is always a full salad bar for the children to choose from to complement their meal, together with fresh bread. The fruit, yoghurts and freshly baked cakes are always popular.
The nursery children have their lunch before the older children come to the dining room to have theirs. This provides a gentle introduction to the dining room and facilitates the transition to school when they will start staying for lunch every day.
There is always a teacher on duty who accompanies the children and leads a nursery prayer before they all enjoy their lunch together. We have an ethos of inclusivity and tolerance in line with the British values where we celebrate all faiths and cultures. For example we may be served Chinese noodles to celebrate Chinese New Year and Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday!
Once a week the children in the Nursery have the opportunity to cook. We have the use of the ovens in the kitchen and we can make a variety of things, savoury and sweet. The children enjoy the hands-on cooking. Not only do they learn where the ingredients come from but children are also exposed to mathematical concepts such as weighing and other mathematical vocabulary such as more, less, half, heavy etc.
The cooking sessions provide children with the opportunity to learn specific skills such as how to hold a knife safely to chop and cut ingredients to kneading and stirring. At the end of the morning they can take their cooking home to share with their family.