Changes to our Lunch Routine
At the beginning of the year we made some changes to the lunch routine. As with any change we like to give it time to see if the children are responding to it in a positive way and that it is in their best interest.
The initial reason why meal time was changed was to allow for the children to have choice and to regulate when they were feeling hungry. The fact that lunch time was delivered in a new environment (outdoors) was always going to take time for the children to adjust. During the trial educators were continuing to monitor children’s food intake across the day and would meet their dietary needs as required and provide additional food if requested e.g sandwich.
We observed that some children chose not to eat lunch at all. This was a concern, as we believe that children need fuel to function at their full potential. After reflecting on this practice it was decided by the educators that the children would all be required to sit down to eat. They were required to approach the educator at the serving station but had a choice in what they ate. The reason for this was to ensure that the children ate something and to promote positive attitudes to meal times.
We have since reflected on our practice to ensure that this new meal routine delivers the best outcome for the children. Last Monday we had a staff meeting and meal times were on the agenda. We have since decided to trial having lunch all at the same time with educators sitting with the children, supporting, guiding and encouraging them to eat. This is a great opportunity and time for the children to gather together to enjoy each other’s company and participate in conversations in a relaxed and happy environment.
In order to continue to support autonomy the food will be presented to the children in bowls and they will be encouraged to serve themselves and their peers whilst being monitored by educators at the same time.