Nutrition & Mealtimes
Meal times should be a happy, social occasion for staff and children alike. Positive interactions should be shared at these times and enjoyed. Big Life Nurseries is committed to offering children with healthy, nutritious and balanced meals and snacks which meet individuals’ needs and requirements.
We will ensure that:
- a balanced and healthy breakfast will be served between 8.00 – 8.45. A midday meal at 11.30 and tea at 3.45. Two daily snacks are provided for children attending a full day at the nursery in between these times. If your child will be attending nursery after 8.45 please ensure that they have had their breakfast as we will not provide after the times stated above.
- We will not allow for any meals to be brought in from home apart from formula milk for babies this is due to allergies and requirements of the other children.
- menus will be planned in advance, rotated regularly and reflect cultural diversity and variation. These will be displayed for parents
- we provide nutritious food at all snack and meal times, avoiding large quantities of fat, sugar and salt and artificial additives, preservatives and colourings
- menus will include servings of fresh fruit and vegetables per day
- parents and children will be involved in menu planning
- fresh drinking water will be constantly available and frequently offered to children and babies
- individual dietary requirements will be respected. We will gather information from parents regarding their children’s dietary needs including any allergies. Where appropriate we will carry out a risk assessment in the case of allergies and work alongside parents to put into place an individual diet plan for their child
- staff will show sensitivity in providing for children’s diets and allergies. They would not use a child’s diet or allergy as a label for the child, or make a child feel singled out because of her/his diet or allergy
- Meal and snack times will be organised so that they are social occasions in which children and staff participate in small groups. During meals and snack times children will be encouraged to use their manners and say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ and conversation will be encouraged
- staff will use meal and snack times to help promote children to develop independence through making choices, serving food and drink, and feeding themselves
- we provide foods from the diet of each of the children’s cultural backgrounds, providing children with familiar foods and introducing them to new ones. Cultural differences in eating habits will be respected
- any child who shows signs of distress at being faced with a meal he/she does not like will have his food removed without any fuss. If a child does not finish his first course, he/she will still be given a small helping of dessert. Children not on special diets will be encouraged to eat a small piece of everything
- children who refuse to eat at the mealtime will be offered food later in the day
- children who are slow eaters will be given time and not rushed
- quantities will take account of the ages of the children
- we will promote positive attitude to healthy eating through play opportunities and discussions
- the nursery will provide parents with daily written records of feeding routines for all children under two years.
Some example food menus
Big Life Nurseries operates a key person system every child is allocated a key person before s/he starts at the nursery. The role of the key person is to first spend time with the parent and child to build up a positive relationship, to learn about the new family (see Personal File and All About Me). Once this information has been recorded the key person will use this information to help the child settle in on their gradual admission. During gradual admission week the following will be done by the key person.
- The key person will greet the child and parent/carer on their first day
- An ‘All About Me’ will be completed during the settling week with the Key Person.
- Coat peg and boxes will be labelled so that each child has a place for their belongings
- The key person will discuss with the parent/carer when it is suitable for them to leave the room but not the building to enable the child to spend time in the room without their main carer
The key person works closely with the children in their key group throughout the day, taking the responsibility for their groups personal care routine this involves –
- Nappy changing
- Providing key groups with support at meal times and snack time
- Provide support for children if they require a sleep
- Providing children with emotional support throughout the day
This consistency of care by the key person allows the child to feel secure and happy within the nursery.Each child has a ‘Learning Journey’ which is kept in their room this file will be updated by the key person and will contain regular observations in each of the child’s area of learning. The key person will use these observations to inform the planning so staff can provide activities and experiences to aid each child’s individual development.The key person encourages parent/carers to be involved in their child’s day at
nursery by giving either a verbal or written account of their child’s day. When children are ready to move rooms the key person supports this transition period by –
- Informing parents and children of the transition and introducing them to their new room and key person
- Passing on relevant information to the new key person
- Repeating the gradual admission process spending time with the child in their new room providing emotional support
- Complete a written statement of the child’s progress and achievements to be given to the parent along with the child’s observations
Each key group will also have a named co-key person who is able to carry out the role and duties of the key person in their absence. Key person and Co-key person groups are displayed on the parent notice boards in each room. Parents are encouraged to talk to key persons regarding any questions or queries that they may have.
Gradual admission and settling in
At Big Life Nurseries we understand how difficult it is for children to separate from their parents. We will, therefore, work with you to ensure your child is settled and that you are happy with the care that we provide.
Before a child starts with us we will organise settling in sessions for the parents/carers and the child. These usually last for a week before admission and are an hour per day (usually between 10-11am or 2-3pm). During this time you are not charged for settling and parents/carers will need to stay on site until all relevant forms are completed.
This gradual admission week gives you the opportunity to provide us with relevant information about your child, their likes and dislikes, routines, favourite activities, how to comfort them if they become upset and how they have reacted when left before. It gives staff the opportunity to start to build a relationship with you and your child and to understand both your needs and wishes.
During this week you will complete a personal file with your child’s key worker and a contract needs to be completed before your child can begin their sessions. We are happy for you to stay until you feel that your child is settled and the settling period can be extended if needed. Some children do take longer than others to settle and some settle quickly and then become distressed a few weeks into the placement. We will work with you to support your child through this transition period and make it as easy as possible.
Once your child has started at nursery some parents find it helpful to call during the day to find out how their child is. We are happy to take your calls, but sometimes we are not able to talk for long, or even to answer the telephone if staff are attending to a child’s personal needs, for example changing a nappy. So please do not panic if you call and there is no answer.