Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Snack time at anytime

By: SINEAD EARLY O BRIEN

Tuesday 05 June 2018

Snack time was an area of practice I struggled with but wasn’t brave enough to change until I was inspired by Dr. Mary O’Kane, on the Level 8 BA in Early Childhood Teaching and Learning, to reflect and acknowledge daily transitions in our service. In doing so I realised that we, the adults, were deciding for the children when they should have a snack: they had no real choice in the matter.

Recognising the need to change this area of practice, to give children a real voice, we discussed with them which they would prefer; snack at anytime of their choosing or snack time together. The vote for snack time at anytime was unanimous.

Over the midterm break that followed, as a staff team we set about creating a snack area which was warm, inviting and accessible for the children to use throughout the session. As the children returned from midterm break we observed them transition easily as we supported and gently guided them initially. Tuning in to the choices children were making, we did identify challenges, the main one being that at times a child may observe a free space, follow the routine of hand washing only to realise as they got to the fridge that someone else was on the chair.

Girl getting something off a hook - Snack time at anytime

In order to give the children full control and mastery over their decision making skills, we agreed that we would need to add a control to allow each child follow through on the big decision to leave their play to have a snack. We facilitated this by numbering the chairs from 1 to 5, providing corresponding number badges which hang in a designated area of the room (supporting numeracy). Now as each child finishes their snack, they hang their number badge back in its place. If children are engaged in play and contemplating snack they can look to see if a badge is available. This ensures that when they make the decision about snack time, they are learning to be confident, self-reliant and self-assured on their decision making skills. They are interacting and working co-operatively with peers (by replacing number badge) and are able to express their own needs (for snack) and have these responded to with respect and consistency.

Seamless snack time affords so many wonderful opportunities in Early Days; for children to sit with their friends and make sense of the world around them and for the educators to sit with or observe the children’s conversations. There is no rush to clean up or a need to be clock watching, seamless snack time has slowed down the pace of our day giving our children so much more time to do what they do best – PLAY!

 

Bio
Sinéad Early O’Brien is owner/manager of the multi award winning Early Days Montessori Playgroup, based in Kilmeague Village, Naas, Co Kildare and is part of a staff team of four early years’ educators who are qualified from level 6 to level 9. The service offers a child-led emergent curriculum with the children’s interests observed, documented, explored and extended in an environment where each child’s voice is listened to and respected. Children have access to snack time and outdoor play through seamless provision, making and self-directing their own decisions and choices. The service provides two sessions daily and caters for and works in partnership with 52 children and their families.
2 comments Comments

2 Responses

  1. Debbie Mullen says:

    well done on providing a seamless snack

  2. Maryna Rogoza says:

    It is very important to value children’s choice and decision-making! And it is good that it is working for your service. I have been working in a different services and have seen different ways of providing snack, i.e. snack time as a group or snack time as “have it at your own time”. At present I am a service provider and have a very strong believe that the approach that you choose how to provide snack very much depends on what way you see it: whether it is a use of limited time without any other benefit rather than fulfilling a nutrition need or it is a chance for further learning and developing. As for nutrition, I even would be more tend to believe that “at any time” approach is not that healthy for digesting system. My believe is based on Pavlov Classical Conditioning when he made an experiment with the dogs and how they reacted to triggers to have a reflex on saliva production, which is very important for a good food digestion. Basically, when children (but also applies to any age) have meal at the same time following a certain routine each day (which is hard to provide when it is “have it at your own time” way), they have a natural conditioned reflex and their stomachs are “prepared” for food consumption by producing saliva. And this is a good start for developing good habits and having a healthy life! So, respect children’s choice is vital. But that choice has to be not controversial to their health and good life skills. And as I believe, early years education should “make a foundation” for building those skills.

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Mealtimes(1) democracy(1) Home Corner(1) Investment(2) Empathy(1) Relaxation(1) Awards 2019(1) Self-Esteem(1) play pod(1) Mayo(1) InspireMe.ie(1) Shoes(1) Iceland(1) Seas Suas(1) Playschool(1) Care routines(1) Line-ups(1) Consent(1) Mount Everest(1) Supernanny(1) E.coli(1) Staff Motivation(1) development(8) Self Help Skills(1) Inclusion(3) European Project(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Blocks(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Plants(1) Patterns(1) Adoption(1) Santa(2) Research and Professional Learning(1) Covid response(2) educarer(1) toddlers(3) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) STEM(3) Eritrea(1) child-centric(1) staying connected(1) Liz Kerrins(1) AsIAm(2) Quality(4) Looking Back(1) Kids Own(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Reggio Emilia(2) animals(2) Online Research Symposium(1) dublin(2) Scéalta Book Review(1) Playdough(1) Malaguzzi(1) Spiders(1) RIE philosphy(1) education system(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Role play(1) risk(2) Budget 2019(2) Appreciation(1) babies(7) Vertical grouping(1) budget(1) Identity(5) Prexit(1) MECPI(1) NCCA(3) Trigonometry(1) risk assessment(1) Maynooth University(2) Awards Night(1) feisty(1) Book Review(1) pablo(1) books(4) Pedagogy(2) UNICEF report(1) Engagement(1) listening(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Socioemotional development(1) Opportunities(1) learners(1) Giraffe(2) Síolta QAP(1) Syria(1) Thanks(1) play pods(2) Proceedings Journal(1) creche(1) Horizon 2020(1) Inspections(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) playleader(1) reopening ireland(1) School Age Childcare(1) Pen green(1) Japan(1) College(1) Inspiring Practice(1) Titles(1) Covid pandemic(2) online training(1) World Health Organisation(1) Cork(1) june29(1) Exit interview(1) Health(2) Irish guidelines(1) Meet the Members(1) listen(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Employee(1) Flowers(1) preschool(4) Diversity(1) Performance Management(1) Maths Week(1) collaboration(1) Community involvement(1) Interaction(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) outdoor play(6) Christmas Creativity(2) community(5) National Childcare Scheme(1) Maternity Leave(1) Twitter(1) inspiring interactions(1) Recycle(1) Laugh(1) stories(3) Time Out(1) Traditions(2) Love(3) Craft(1) Family wall(1) reading(5) Online(1) behavioural science(1) Children(4) Design(1) Reggio(1) DCYA(6) child-centred approach(1) United Nations(1) UD(1) Awards(2) memories(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Pretend Play(1) ERASMUS+(3) Inspired Practice Award(6) responsive relationships(1) Nutrition(1) Margy Whalley(1) documentation(4) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Equality(1) Story(2) ECIAwards20(1) experience(1) Exercise(1) Aistear(130) annual awards(1) Traffic Lights(1) Intention(1) Covid-19 lockdown(1) Reading Time(1) CIT(1) Touch(1) Mental Health(4) interacting(2) racism(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) conversations(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Montessori(3) mental health problems(1) keep in touch(1) Games(1) blog(53) Maths Week Ireland(1) gender bias(1) Wilenski(1) Gardening(1) childcare services(1) Reflective Practice(1) play(35) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) outdoor space(3) annual conference(1) Builders(1) baby room(1) Maynooth(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Early Childhood Ireland(10) Interactions(3) Albert Einstein(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Exploring(1) transitions(10) Well-Being(10) Settling in(4) ELC(1) Digital(1) Jenga(1) ICBN(1) Engineers Week(2) Plastic(1) multi-generational community(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) play stories(2) Learning Stories(9) apps for children(1) Death(2) Interests(1) Children's Rights(3) Scéalta Blog(104) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Sustainability(3) Painting(1) supportive environments(2) Kindness Challenge(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) early childhood(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) continual professional development(1) Sequins(1) San Miniato(4) Workplace Relations(3) Inter-generational learning(2) early childhood educator(2) Seanchaí(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Family(1) Large Doll Play(1) Book Club(2) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) social science(1) Youtube Series(1) dogs(1) NAEYC(1) christmas(9) Drawing(2) Early Childhood Education(1) bonds(1) Italy(1) Thank you(1) Penguins(1) Behaviour(3) National Annual Awards 2020(1) bloom app(1) Counting(1) Magnavacchi(1) Engineering Ireland(1) family time(1) educating(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Technology(3) Grief(1) learning(19) aistear blog(3) Performing(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Exploratory Play(1) Pobal sector profile(1) grandchild(1) Support(1) Treasure(1) Sweets(1) Visual Impairment(1) Arlene Forster(1) Advocacy(1) RTE Investigates(1) Nonverbal(1) Our Little Seed(1) coronavirus(1) planning(1) Fantasy play(1) Magic(1) Sustainable(1) Wrapping paper(1) under 3's(3) reopening(1) TOY Programme(1) Cognitive development(1) Dance(1) Childcare(3) Visitors(1) TRAP(1) children development(1) Arts(1) Afghanistan(1) Graduation(1) conference(1) Study Trip(1) Scents(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) EECERA(1) Maria Montessori(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Gratitude(1) imotion(1) relationships(18) Leprechauns(1) Rituals(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) CPD(1) Loving Relationships(2) Learning journals(1) Storytelling(7) education(2) Siolta blog(8) research(6) Running(1) quarantine(1) Decision Making(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Mathematicians(1) Participation(2) Administrative Burden(1) play therapy(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Favouritism(1) outdoors(4) Awards 2018(3) worries(1) Mud kitchens(1) Photographs(1) Children's Research Network(1) trust(4) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Policy(2) early years settings(1) Mantra(1) pets(1) Norway(2) National Pyjama Day(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Yoga(1) food(1) Wesco(1) SAC(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Recycling(2) Nuturing interactions(1) Child Care(1) journey(1) Winter(1) Creativity(6) General Data Protection Regulation(1) life long learning(1) Confident(1) Building Resilience(1) Workforce(1) ECEC Setting(2) Treasure Chest(1) Professionalisation(5) awards 2020(1) Little Buddies(1) Change(1) Magda Gerber(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) mushrooms(1) Valentine's Day(3) Vietnam(1) Bereavement(2) learning hub(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) Routines(2) Irish(1) Obesity(1) show and tell(1) MA(1) Snacks(1) Elders(1) man up(1) Inspirational(2) ReCreate(2) emotional well-being(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) preschool settings(1) Kindness(1) peer group(1) Buddy Bench(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Decisions(1) Queues(1) Funding(1) Degree(1) youdoodle(1) International Narratives(1) Event Guide(1) learning bias(1) Laughter(1) Map(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Digital Devices(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Research Conference 2019(1) developing motor skills(1) Positivity(1) Small World Play(1) Summer(1) Oireachtas(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Learning Story Awards(2) Communicating(1) Affordability(1) Infection Control(1) keezy(1) Belonging(3) Kerry(1) Impact(1) National Awards 2019(1) Facebook(1) Learning Journal(2) Ariana Pucci(1) Workplace well-being(1) Culture(2) COVID-19(14) Light table(1) Learning Story(1) emotions(2) Halloween(2) Budget 2020(1) Imagination(3) Capable(1) Limerick(1) Research Seminar(1) Early Learning and Care(1) curiosity(3) science(3) INTO(1) early years learning(1) Hand Hygiene(2) Smiles(1) an post(1) Communications(1) respect(5) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) structure(1) research submissions(1) EECERA 2016(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Educators(2) Iraq(1) democratic citizens(1) Celebrate(1) overhear(1) Shapes(2) Confidence(1) ECEC(3) UNCRC(2) Universal Design(2) Music(3) Brain(1) Sessional service(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) ECCE(7) Easter(1) Early Years(1) environments(1) Names(1) Mixed age groups(3) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Sleep(1) Breathing(2) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) early years research(2) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Thinking(1) Ceremony(1) Celebrations(4) Academics(1) Time(1) primary education(1) Self-regulation(1) Anthony Semann(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) role playing(1) Buddies(1) Art(6) University(1) Child mental health(1) Document Learning(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Learning through Storytelling(1) Snack Time(1) Independence(1) curriculum(5) linc(1) Biting(1) maternity health(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Fee Play(1) refugees(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) healthy eating policies(1) Window(1) dining experiences(1) Lego(2) Sculptures(1) GDPR(1) Creative(1) Pobal(1) CCTV(1) IGL(1) routine(2) Inter-generational(2) Masterclass(2) Care-giving routines(1) Children's Voice(1) Certificate(1) Rich Documentation(1) Trade Unions(1) Reopening Childcare(1) communication(4) SPICE Framework(1) Potential(1) phone apps(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) National Awards 2018(2) Upcycling(1) Early Years Educators(3) Feeding(1) parents(6) Orla Kenny(1) outdoor environment(1) Frustrations(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Graduate(1) friendships(1) Through the looking glass(1) meals(3) story time(2) dining(1) Sport(1) Looking Forward(1) Engineering(3) Stress(2) Motor neuron disease(1) First 5(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) purpose(1) Training(2) Trick or treat(1) eating(1) Wonder(1) Loss(1) EM Standing(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) iOS(1) HR(1) Body Language(1) movement behaviours(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) DES Inspection(1) Primary School(3) Budget 2018(1) Kilkenny(1) National Holiday(1) Pre-School Services(1) Trade union(1) Xbox(1) New Appointments(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Mindfulness(3) Anxiety(2) Autism(4) Human Resources(1) risky play(2) emotional environment(2) Exclusion(1) Super Shed Stories(2) value(1) code of ethics(1) Your place(1) Party(1) Mo Scéal(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) Leargas(1) First 5 strategy(1) Weather(1) Leadership(1) PIP(1) Whole Group(1) Return to Work Training(1) Early Years Education(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Environment(2) Rising to the Challenge(2) Maths(6) art of the relationship(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Infectious diseases(1) scéalta(56) Qualifications(1) Wendy Lee(3) Arithmetic(1) Academic Skills(1) The Jelly King(1) Síolta(137) lockdown(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) ears(1) Childhood(1) Snakes(1) AIM(2) Glitter(2) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Competent(1) Teamwork(1) social media policy(1) Challenges(1) Social Skills(1) UN(1) Children and families(1) children’s learning(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Fabric(1) early life(1) gender stereotype(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) social media(2) Mark Twain(1) science week(2) Meal time(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine