Does your PreK class have snack time?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by tiffharmon2001, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

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    Jun 30, 2009

    Our class has breakfast at 9:00 and lunch at 1:00. Last year, I did snack time as they woke up from naps (around 3:00) because that's what the other class was doing and what the teacher before me had done. My feeling at the time was "at least I know they've had something to eat between lunch and breakfast". Looking back on it, my 2 graham cracker squares or handful of goldfish crackers probably wouldn't mean that much between lunch and breakfast for a child who had nothing else (and I really don't think I had any like that last year anyway).

    I'm thinking this year of moving my snack time to around 11:00 so that it's between breakfast and lunch instead or of eliminating it altogether. I know most of children (especially those who go to daycare after school) have a snack between school and dinner, so having an afternoon snack at school doesn't really make sense. It does seem like a long time between breakfast and lunch for such little ones, but I don't usually have children complain about being hungry until 20-30 minutes before lunch, if at all. My own children rarely ask for a snack during the day, so I'm not sure it's necessary. I don't want to have hungry children during the day, but I also don't want to teach children to eat when they aren't hungry just because my schedule says it's "snack time".

    I've heard of schools/classes that have a snack available at all times so that the children can just go get it when they feel hungry. Has anyone ever tried that? I'm wondering how you store it, how you limit the children who might just want to sit and snack all day, and where they go to eat their snack in the classroom. I'm also wondering if you have a "cut off" time so that the children still eat their lunch.

    I'd love to hear your ideas for snack time. Let me know what you think!
     
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  3. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    I work at a private school and we must provide a morning snack and afternoon snack. The kids bring their own lunch or purchase one at the school.

    I serve my morning snack closer to 8:45 because I know some of the kids don't eat breakfast for whatever reason. Lunch is served around 11:30 and the afternoon snack is right after naptime...which is around 3 pm.

    Samples of snacks: various fruits (apples, bananas, grapes), apple sauce, yogurt, biscuits, waffles, dried cereal, trail mix, popcorn, poptarts (ewww :blush: yes!).
     
  4. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    :eek:That would drive me bananas!!! No; I would never do that...the parents are aware of the snack time and I stick with it pretty much to a t. Remember, a snack is just that...a snack, not a meal.
    And snacks should be eaten at a table/chair unless you're doing a special unit and are having a "picnic" style of snack. Hands should be washed before consumption of food.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    All 3 of my kids have a snack every day in elementary school. Even on the "half days" that run 8:30 -10:45 am. (No, I have NO idea who does the math and determines that 10:45 is the midpoint of a day.)

    That's right, including my 5'2" 11 year old 5th grader had a snack every single day.
     
  6. sewsouth

    sewsouth Companion

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    I have a half day program 9:00-11:45am
    I usually try to start snack time at 10:00 but
    sometimes it is as late as 10:30-10:45.

    It depends on the flow of the morning. I try
    not to do it any later than 10:45 knowing
    they will be leaving in an hour or so and lunch
    is coming also.

    Most of the kids have breakfast
    anywhere between 6:30-8:00am.

    We do snack as a whole I don't let them just
    snack when they want it. That is all I would be doing all
    morning. If the kids are hungry when we get ready
    for snack they can eat if not they won't.
    Sometimes they do not like the snack so they
    won't eat it anyway. I designate snack days
    so they kids(parents) are responsible for providing
    the snacks.
     
  7. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I can't imagine how disruptive the "snack when you want to" philosophy would be. I have had friends who do that in a modified way - snack is set out during centers, and anyone can come over during centers and help themselves if they like. The downsides were: 1. It required an adult to oversee, because there were inevitably spills, kids taking triple, kids touching them all before choosing one, etc. 2. If you didn't have an adult there, some kids WOULD take triple servings. Some may really need it - they may not get a lot of food at home. But, in reality, my own 8 year old would nibble ALL day if I let her, and we certainly provide her with more than enough food.

    I teach in a half day program in a public school. My AM is 9-12, my PM is 12:30-3:30. I have snack at 10:30 AM and 2:00 PM. In my case, even though the kids are mostly poverty level, the kids bring their own snacks. I give the parents guidelines as to what to bring and I also keep a bin of "extras" in my room for people who "forget."

    Kim
     
  8. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    When I taught pre-school (in a child care setting, no brekfast served) we had a morning snack at 10:00, lunch at 12:00 and afternoon snack at 3:00 and then a 5:00 snack for anyone who was still there. At one point (before I worked there) they did the "you can grab a graham cracker anytime you want to" thing. From what I understand it worked pretty well as far as the number of snacks eaten (nobody went nuts with it) but rather poorly from a sanitation stand point which is the main reason they stopped. I would not recommend it.
     
  9. sparklystar

    sparklystar Rookie

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    we have am snack at 9:30 we don't serve breakfast. We have lunch at 12pm and pm snack at 2:30 after nap
     
  10. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    Jun 30, 2009

    Breakfast from 8:30-9:00

    Lunch is served around 11:30

    Afternoon snack is at 2:30 when the kids get up from rest time.
     
  11. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    At my center before my last job, breakfast and afternoon snack were "serve yourself" and lunch was "now we are eating together" (but family style serving). I think both ways kids get to choose how much of food they will eat and how to listen to their bodies for hunger. Cereal, toast, muffins, crackers, whatever were put in a large bowl or platter. We taught the children to use tongs/big spoon/napkin to scoop up their food and drinks were in child-sized pitchers so they could pour. They all knew to wash hands before they came to the snack station (set up on a table) and they knew how to dump out their food and clear their mess. I think it was "open" for an hour before we put the food away. It can be a worthwhile experience, but you do have to train the kids on how to serve themselves and clean up afterwards.

    My last job at HS we had to serve breakfast at 9:00, lunch around 11:30, and snack at 2:00. Snack was a mad rush to get them up from nap, pottied, and fed when everyone had to leave by 2:30. You do have a late lunch. I would try to do snack between breakfast and lunch if you have a choice.
     
  12. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

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    Good thoughts. I'm still thinking of moving my snack into the morning or doing away with it. Our snacks are provided by the parents and I had a lot of trouble last year getting parents to bring it in. I could send note after note that we were running low but it wasn't until we had a day with no snack that they would bring something in.
    Most of my kids eat breakfast at home before school, then eat again at 9:00 with our class. I'm thinking I may just keep a small supply of snacks on hand for those days when the school breakfast is not enough/something kids don't like (one piece of cold cinnamon toast and milk doesn't really cut it). That way I could put it out during centers for those who need it.

    I only have them for about 15-20 minutes after they wake up from naps, so I really would like to find a better way to end our day than sitting at the table having snack.
     
  13. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Is your program a straight PS, or day care? Day cares must serve meals at certain times, and include certain componets. Toast and milk would not be a breakfast. USDA recommends 2 1/2 hours between meals.

    I have served a snack "if you want." PP are right, we just put the snack out and invited each child to eat. It was up to them. If you are on the USDA food program, offering is enough to claim.
     
  14. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

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    I work in a public school PreK program. My breakfast and lunch times are set for me, but snack is optional.

    I agree that toast and milk are not breakfast. What has happened sometimes is that because we are the last class to eat, the cafeteria has run out of the other items for breakfast and that's what we end up with. I've also been told that our meals have to be balanced "for the week", so one day we may have biscuits, gravy, fruit, juice, and milk and the next day just the toast(or bagel or biscuit) and milk since we had fruit and juice the day before.

    Doesn't make much sense to me, but that's how it's done.
     
  15. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    tiff, I understand that public schools can do that, but if they are USDA, they are required to have enough to serve everyone. It is the kids that suffer when adults fail.
     
  16. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

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    I agree. Last year was my first at the school, so I didn't want to make too many waves. It will be a different story this year.

    Our PreK and K breakfast is provided to the children free of charge through a grant our district gets. I'm not sure how that affects the rules about how much/which kinds of food is served, but I am going to find out.
     
  17. punchinello

    punchinello Comrade

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    In my half day program, the children eat breakfast and lunch at home, unless they are staying for an enrichment class.
    I actually like the open snack idea. It saves teaching time for me because my room is small. In order for everyone to sit together, I have to clean up the 2 tables where our projects/activities are happening. I found it more disruptive to set aside a chunk of time than to have snack set as a center.

    We provide the food. We have a "menu" for the day, which tells them how much they can serve themselves....3 pretzels or 5 grapes or 3 cubes of cheese, whatever. They set up their own napkins, cups and pour their own water. If they spill, they wipe it up. At the beginning of the year, we start with dots to help them count the snack choice. Then we make it more difficult as the year goes on, ending with three choices on the menu or having them combine choices....5 blueberries plus 2 crackers or 4 crackers plus 3 blueberries.

    They sit by the window and chat. When they are finished they clean up and move their clothespin so we can see they have eaten. Sometimes they don't want snack and that's ok. They rarely ask for more.

    The things I don't like about open snack are: When only 1 child is at the table, so I always look for someone who hasn't eaten yet to join. And we don't get to say Grace together or review table manners. Kids eat on the run so much these days that it would be nice to sit down together for a "meal". We do that for birthdays, of course, and special treats from time to time. But not daily.
     
  18. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    They often run out of whatever is on the whole-school menu when it comes to PreK. It stinks. Kids will come to school KNOWING that it's pizza day, and by the time we get up to the line, all they have is grilled cheese.

    Because we're half-day, meals are not optional, but we have a number of kids on free lunch who eat when they get to school in the afternoon session, and some who also eat breakfast when they get to school in the AM session.
     
  19. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

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    Punchinello, I really like the sound of that. I'm sure it takes some prep work to have it ready for them, but it would free up some class time. I'm going to keep thinking about the idea...

    kimrandy1 We had that happen to us all the time last year. It really stinks when they see all the other children in the cafeteria with something good and then they end up with the leftover pizza from the day before. I think the worst time was the day we walked out of our classroom and could smell something baking in the oven (we thought cookies, turned out to be brownies). We tried to guess all the way down there what it was and then we tried to guess who's class was doing a cooking activity that day (it is very rare for the school to serve something like that). We asked the lunch ladies when we got there and they told us they were making brownies for lunch the next day. My kids were so excited! They came in the next morning still talking about it. When we finally got to lunch-all set for brownies-they had one left. They "had" to serve it to my first child since it was on the menu. The others got prepackaged rice crispy treats or oatmeal cream pies. My kids were always really good about being flexible, but I had some in tears that day. I was so angry!!! I will not let that happen to my kids this year!

    We've tried asking them to save enough for our kids (we have to turn in a count every morning so I really don't understand why they would run out) but they said the rules are that they have to serve it "first come first served". :mad:
     
  20. Kase

    Kase Companion

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    We have snack at 9:15a, lunch at 11:30a, and then snack at 3:00pm. Those are the only times the kids get snack.
     
  21. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Ours is a Montessori school, so we do snack differently. We have snack out starting first thing in the morning at 8:00 and it stays out until we break for the morning to go outside at 10:30. Lunch is at 12:15.

    Children get out their own napkin, serve themselves, and clean up after themselves. The only rule we have is that you eat whatever you take. Parents also bring in a piece of fruit each day, so we have fresh fruit for our snack with whatever the kitchen has planned for that day.

    We do get some kids who like to graze all morning long, but the thing I like about having it out for a long time is that the kids who haven't had breakfast yet can eat when they first get to school, and the kids who don't get hungry until later can eat later in the morning when they need it.

    It requires a lot of supervision the first few weeks of the school year, but after that everyone's got the routine down and does pretty well.
     
  22. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    we odn't do breakfast -- so we have snack around 9:30 after our morning circle time and we have lunch at 12. State reg says we cna't make the kids go more than 3 hours without the opportunity to eat
     
  23. Mrs.Sheila

    Mrs.Sheila Cohort

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    I do a morning snack. We start our day at 8:45 and ..... snack is promply about 9:10 ~ cut off at 9:20, and like a previous poster it is a "snack" not a meal ~ I can't tell you how many times I have said that! Unfortunately ~ I have several who didnt' eat breakfast before coming to school.
     
  24. rslucr

    rslucr New Member

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    I have administered full day programs in primarily low income areas. We have two snacks a day. The first snack is around 8:00 and the other is after nap- between 2:30 and 3:00. I am fortunate to be state funded and snacks and meals are provided and paid for. A lot of children (from any income or area) do not eat breakfast and are hungry. The snacks are small and nutritious. The children have the choice to eat the snack. If you only have one snack, make it the afternoon after nap. :)
     
  25. preschool group

    preschool group Rookie

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    Provide a snack time. They deserve to eat a snack if they want to! Just designate the time. Keep it simple. Always wash hands before eating.
     
  26. missg86

    missg86 Rookie

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    at my college's lab school we had snack set out for the students for about a half hour in the morning and afternoon. There was a picture showing the students how much to take (ex. 2 scoops of crackers) and small pitchers for them to pour their own drinks-- sure, there were spills sometimes, but the students knew to clean it up, following the whole logical consequences idea. It ended up being a great way for the kids to learn responsibility!
     
  27. elliemay

    elliemay Rookie

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    Our school is from 9-1. We usually have snack around 10 or so and lunch around 12:15. This is all dependent of our "specials" time and playground time. Some children are really slow and some really fast. The slow ones, I usually have to call "time" after 15 minutes. The fast ones read a book, etc. until we are ready for the next activity.

    The children each bring their own snack and lunch everyday.
     
  28. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    at our center each child brings their own lunch box iwth snacks, drinks and lunch. We have guidelines for what they can have and it has to be a healthy snack in the morning like yougurt, or fruit. We are open 6-6 . childen who arrive before 7:30 and who haven't had brakfast at home can have their healthiest choice in their lunch box up until 8am. My 3 year old class had snack at 9:30. I am moving to the pre-k room in the fall and am looking at having snack around 10 and lunch at 12:30 with nap at 1
     
  29. Liljag

    Liljag Companion

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    At pretty much every school here every child is guaranteed a breakfast (usually it is porridge, yoghurt, milk). Mind you, I am in Sweden so I figured I might as well put something here if
    you were curious how it is in other parts of the world. Snack time is usually around 10 and lunch at 1130. Morning snack is half a fruit and afternoon is some type of open faced sandwich. Nothing has any sugar (except the fruit) and no child can bring any food from home. Reason being is so they don't have alot of sugar in their system when they come to school or during. It makes things alot easier for the teacher and the parents I think. Another reason is so they don't brag too each other about what they brought and
    such, since not everyone can afford to bring the same snack or
    it might cause jealousy between the kids/bullying.

    I have been in schools where bowls of leftover vegetables (such as chopped up bell pepper) is put out after lunch. Usually pretty popular and no kid really overtakes. Even if they do, it is bell pepper..can't really be bad for you.
     
  30. mscaitlin

    mscaitlin Rookie

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    I teach VPK and we only have class from 8-11 so snack is not necessarily "required". During Center Time, I open up a table for whoever wants a snack..most of the time there is only 3-4 kids who actually want it
     
  31. K3 teacher

    K3 teacher Companion

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    Our district provides snack for my 3s through the grant (well, currently, there is no state budget so no grant - district provided at the moment!)
    I do a serve yourselft system and it works really well. Snack is available during our free choice time. The procedure is modeled at the beginning of the year a lot but after that is great!. They move their name to snack on the center choice board (6 kids can be there at a time), wash their hands, get a cup, napkin, and spoon (if having pudding, applesauce) pour their own juice/water choice out of kid sized lakeshore pitchers and choose a snack from the snack bin ( I have parents bag appropriate serving sizes every couple of weeks). When they are finished they clean up their space and cross their name off the snack list. My para and I watch to see who needs to be reminded to come to snack, etc. It takes very little time for us to monitor this after the kids have the routine and gives us more teaching time rather than taking 15-20 min to have snack with 17 kiddos.
     
  32. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Wow, that is exactly why we provide the food---the whole bully issue. And I love that you hold the sugar down. We do too!! Thanks.
     
  33. A_Pre-K_Teacher

    A_Pre-K_Teacher Rookie

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    My first 2 years I did snack as a group and felt some students took a snack even though they weren't even hungry (they would eat a bite and then sit there for awhile and then throw it away). Last year I had open snack during center time and after rest time. They got to choose if they were hungry when they would eat it during that time. I didn't have to monitor it at all after a couple of weeks. The students independently would wash their hands, and take their snack. I had a scooper in the storage container of the snack, they would take 1 scoop and put it into their plastic cup and then they had to sit at a table to eat. It went very well and plan to do it again this year. Good luck to you!
     
  34. room121

    room121 New Member

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    My program is funded through a state grant. We are required to have snack as a choice during center time. If we do not do this, our grant is denied.
    I have done this for four years now, and it really is very simple once you and the children get used to it.
    I totally understand the panic...I felt the same way when I was told to do this, but you would be surprised how quickly children learn to take care of their own needs when they are provided with modeling and a structured routine.
    The first week of school, we do snack as a whole group so the children can learn the sequence of preparing snack (wash hands, get food and drink, eat, clean up). This also allows them to practice pouring and scooping their food/drink, and the adults are there to provide assistance. Also, when they spill, we are then there to assist them with clean-up.
    Once most of the group has mastered it, snack is offered as a choice during center time. I allow three children to eat at a time; therefore, there are three chairs at the snack table. The sequence for preparing snack is posted with pictures and words. Everything is kept on the table and covered in between classes (I have a morning and afternoon session). The first week of snack being a "center", a teacher sits nearby to assist as needed. After that, they're on their own.
    I usually don't have a problem with children wanting to "sit and eat all day." I tell them they may eat once. I am pretty good at keeping track of who has already eaten, so they don't get past me! But if this is something you are concerned about, you could use clothespins labeled with children's names and photos, and clip them to a poster that says, "Who Ate Today?" On one side, it would say "No" and on the other "Yes". When children sit down to eat, they can move their clothespin to the "Yes" side. Then you can just look over and see who has already had their turn.
    I don't think this is such a huge issue; in fact, I actually think it makes sense. We want children to eat when they are hungry, so they should be doing this at school. I think when food is placed in front of a child who is not hungry, they either eat it (thus ignoring their body's hunger signals) or get very anxious or upset at the fact that they are sort of being forced to eat. This also teaches them responsibility. If they don't eat by clean up time, oh well. Then they don't eat. The next day, if they are hungry, they will eat earlier. Also, regarding the messes, children do learn how to clean up after themselves. It really happens faster than you think. I don't know about anyone else, but I would not be cleaning up their spills whether we were eating snack as a whole group or at a center...they would be cleaning up their own spills. So for me, it really doesn't matter when or where they eat in terms of it being a mess.
     
  35. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

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    Thankfully, the school sort of solved this problem for me. We did end up receiving our breakfast grant for this year, so all of my children eat breakfast at school together as a class (for free). We eat breakfast at 9:00 and lunch at 1:00. So, I just decided to cut snack out all together. I also have a child with peanut allergies and we've already had a small incident with that, so I would prefer to just eliminate having food in my room as much as possible (not counting special days).
    Thanks for all the input. It's interesting to see how many different ways snack is served.
     
  36. four

    four New Member

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    Sep 2, 2009

    We have morning snack between 9 and 9:30 and afternoon snack between 3 and 3:30 (after nap).
     
  37. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Sep 2, 2009

    Four hours is a long time between meals. USDA requires less time.
     

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