Healthy Eating Policy

At Little Rascals we believe that mealtimes should be happy, social occasions for children and staff alike. We promote shared, enjoyable positive interactions at these times.

A balanced diet is essential for the maintenance and protection of health, to ensure that full mental and physical potential is reached each day and to optimise growth and development. Developing a healthy diet and good eating habits early in life will lay the foundations for future health.

The statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage states:

- The provider must promote the good health of the children.

- Where children are provided with meals, snacks and drinks, these must be healthy, balanced and nutritious.

- To support children and their families, creating an awareness of healthy eating and promoting as appropriate

- Fresh drinking water to be available at all times.

We are committed to offering children healthy, nutritious and balanced meals and snacks which meet individual needs and requirements.

We will ensure that:

- A balanced and healthy midday meal, tea and two daily snacks are provided for children attending a full day at the nursery

- Menus are planned in advance, rotated regularly and reflect cultural diversity and variation. These are displayed for children and parents to view

- We provide nutritious food at all snack and meal times, avoiding large quantities of fat, sugar, salt and artificial additives, preservatives and colourings

- Menus include at least 5 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables per day

- Fresh drinking water is always available and accessible. It is frequently offered to children and babies and intake is monitored. In hot weather staff will encourage children to drink more water to keep them hydrated

- Individual dietary requirements are respected. We gather information from parents regarding their children’s dietary needs, including any special dietary requirements, preferences and food allergies that a child has and any special health requirements, before a child starts or joins the nursery. Where appropriate we will carry out a risk assessment in the case of allergies and work alongside parents to put into place an individual dietary plan for their child

- We give careful consideration to seating to avoid cross contamination of food from child to child.

- Where appropriate, age/stage discussions will also take place with all children about allergies and potential risks to make them aware of the dangers of sharing certain foods

- Staff show sensitivity in providing for children’s diets and allergies. They do 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

- Staff set a good example and encourage the children to show good table manners.

- Meal and snack times are organised so that they are social occasions in which children and staff participate in small groups. During meals and snack times children are encouraged to use their manners and say 'please' and 'thank you' and conversation is encouraged

- Staff use meal and snack times to help children to develop independence through making choices, serving food and drink, and feeding themselves.

- Staff support children to make healthy choices and understand the need for healthy eating

- 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 are respected

- Any child who shows signs of distress at being faced with a meal he/she does not like will have his/her food removed without any fuss.

- Children not on special diets are encouraged to eat a small piece of everything

- Children who refuse to eat at the mealtime are offered food later in the day

- Children are given time to eat at their own pace and not rushed

- Quantities offered take account of the ages of the children being catered for in line with recommended portion sizes for babies and young children

- We promote positive attitudes to healthy eating through play opportunities and discussions

- The nursery provides parents with daily written records of feeding routines for all children under 2 years and verbal information for the 2yrs and over

- No child is ever left alone when eating/drinking to minimise the risk of choking

- We do allow parents to bring in cakes on special occasions. Parents are responsible for ensuring any food brought into the setting meets the above and health and safety requirements and ingredients that are listed within the Food Information for Consumers (FIR) 2014 and detailed in the allergens policy and procedure

- All staff who prepare and handle food are competent to do so and receive training in food hygiene which is updated every three years

In the very unlikely event of any food poisoning affecting two or more children on the premises, whether or not this may arise from food offered at the nursery, we will inform Ofsted as soon as reasonably practical and in all cases within 14 days. We will also inform the relevant health agencies and follow any advice given.

Little Rascals Toothbrushing Policy

• The supervisor should wash their hands before and after the toothbrushing session to prevent cross-infection.

• The child (under supervision) is responsible for collecting the toothbrush from the storage system. Discretion should be used if a child has additional support needs.

• Toothpaste is dispensed following the appropriate methods.

• Toothbrushing takes place at the identified sink area.

• Children should be supervised and encouraged to spit excess toothpaste into the sink.

• Tissues/paper towels must be disposed of immediately in a bin.

• Toothbrushes can either be: i. returned to the storage system by each child. The system is then taken to an identified sink area by the supervisor, who is responsible for rinsing each toothbrush individually under cold running water, or ii. rinsed at a designated sink area where each child is responsible for rinsing their own toothbrush under cold running water. The supervisor or the child can be responsible for the control of the running tap.

• After rinsing of the toothbrushes is complete, the child or the supervisor is responsible for shaking off excess water into the sink. Toothbrushes should not come into contact with the sink.

• Each child (under supervision) is responsible for returning their own toothbrush to the storage system to air dry. Discretion should be used if a child has additional support needs.

• Paper towels should be used to mop up all visible drips on the storage system.

• Children should be supervised.

• Supervisors are responsible for cleaning the sink after brushing has taken place.