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Here at Chapel Grange we believe that good home cooked nutritional food is an integral part of our learning environment. All our food is prepared and cooked in house by our experienced kitchen staff and we endeavour to source as much as possible locally. Menus can be found on the pin board in the cloakroom for you to view and are reviewed throughout the course of the year.
We aim to offer our children a wide variety of meals and hope this is reflected in our menus. Healthy eating/lifestyle is an integral part of Chapel Grange, we discuss the value of food and the importance of a healthy and varied diet. At meals times, the children are encouraged to try new foods they may encounter.
We also aim to cater for most dietary needs, if your child has a particular dietary need please feel free to discuss it with the nursery manager and we will look to accommodate your child’s needs.
Our rural setting makes us fortunate enough to have a growing area where the children are encouraged to plant and tender fruit and vegetables which, when mature, we harvest and use in our kitchen. It’s a great way for them to learn about nature, the growing cycle and how and where our food comes from, and its all pesticide free.
An important aspect of meal times is developing appropriate tables manners. The staff role model the manners we want to see in the children. Grace and curtseys are an integral part of the daily nursery philosophy and meals times are a great time to emphasise this, children are encouraged to use ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’ where necessary while understanding that talking with your mouth full is not desirable. We also encouraged them to use calm ‘indoor’ talking voices at the dinner table and to tuck in their chair when leaving the table.
Independence is strongly advocated during all aspects of the nursery day and meal times are no exception. Our children serve their meals to their friends promoting coordination and social etiquette skills, children will then carry their food to a seating place of their choice, all of which are great practical life experiences that are really enjoyed by them all.
Once they have seated themselves they begin their lunch/tea and are encouraged to pour themselves a cup of water. Should there be any spillages during meal times the children will leave the table (chair tucked in) collect paper towels and clean up. Once they have finished they put the used towels into the bin. Spillages or any accidents are viewed as purely that, ‘accidents’ and children are given help and encouragement by staff or older children keeping the situation positive at all times, everyone has accidents and we all learn from them!
Once the children have finished their meals, they take their plate/bowl etc back to the serving tables and scrape any remaining food away and place their knife and forks in a bowl. They then clear their placemat and cup away too. The children will then collect a warm face flannel and clean their hands and face. Some children wish to assist with tidying the hall and will offer to help stack the chairs, clean the tables and sweep the floor all of which is warmly encouraged.
As you can see this aspect of the nursery day holds a terrific amount of value. We believe the children should enjoy meal times and encounter positive experiences. In doing so the children will have a confident and enthusiastic approach to a variety of meals and trying different foods becomes a matter of routine.
If you find yourself with an opportunity to observe meal times at Chapel Grange please take full advantage of it, its lovely to watch.
Through positive meal times the children not only learn to try new foods and have a positive association with food, they learn excellent manners, cooperation and positive interaction with others, independence, confidence and a sense of ownership and belonging.