One-way we really live up to our ethos of ‘Family’ is through meal and snack times. Meal and snack times play a big part of the everyday running at Muddy Boots, and although it supports our ethos of family, there are also lots of other benefits of sitting together at lunch and tea including promoting independence, developing social skills and supporting lots of areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage framework.
At lunch and tea we believe it is so important for everyone to sit together in a group to enjoy our food and talk about the day (many funny and silly conversations often occur!). The Muddy Boots team also have the same meals as the children, which we have found encourages the children to try and eat new foods, as they are looking up to the people who care for them during their time at nursery. By having regular conversations, this also develops the bonds between the children and the team as well as developing communication and language.
In our older rooms, the children thrive off helping to prepare their own snacks and meals. This massively encourages independence and raises children’s confidence. As well as this the children develop their risk management, as they learn how to use different utensils and cooking equipment safely. Across all of the rooms, the children will often help out with baking and preparing elements of the meals that day. Some of the favourite things the children enjoy creating are cakes, pizzas and wraps & sandwiches (although we do get some crazy combinations of sandwich fillings).
Meal times have many learning opportunities and provide the children with life long skills, including setting the table (this involves lots of math opportunities, by counting the plates, cups & cutlery!) and managing risk (is the food too hot to serve/eat?). The children also have to think what to do if a drink spills – how can they clean it up? After lunch and dinner is finished, the children then help with the big clean – if they’re not too eager to go and play. The children scrape their plates and have a go at stacking them – on some occasions even have a go at washing up or loading the dishwasher.
We would love to hear your favourite meals you like to cook and share with your little ones at home – Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our new Autumn/Winter menus coming in September!
Rach – Muddy Boots Manager