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Snacks in school

(19 Posts)
Mustdobetter Mon 10-Sep-07 17:33:05

My son turned 8 at the end of August and has gone into year 4. Last year parents still were able to send snacks into school each day for the whole class to share, but this year the teacher says she doesn't want them to have snacks. Some of the children in the class have had breakfast by 7.15 (they have a long bus ride to school), but lunch is not served at school till 12.55, and they have PE three times a week, first thing in the morning. So some of the children are going almost 6 hours without food; at best they are going 5 hours without.hmm When they do have lunch, they only have 20-25 minutes in which to eat and the year 4s are expected to serve food to the younger children, so they have even less time in which to relieve their hunger.

How do other schools operate, with regard to how long the different year groups are expected to go without food? Does anyone know of any official nutritional recommendations about this?

McDreamy Mon 10-Sep-07 17:35:32

Totally agree that is far too long for the children to go without food. Can your son take a snack in just for himself?

Mercy Mon 10-Sep-07 17:38:03

My dd's school provides fruit for all children mid-morning (at about 10.30 I think) plus they eat their lunch earlier than at your ds's school.

I agree, it is a very long time between meals. I have my breakfast at about 7 and am always starving by 10.30 or so.

Mercy Mon 10-Sep-07 17:39:16

Meant to ask - is this a whole school policy or just your ds's teacher's idea?

Mustdobetter Mon 10-Sep-07 18:21:52

Other parents in the class also want the children to have snacks. I'm not sure if it school policy or just this teacher. If I sent a snack in for only my son, I don't think he'd be given the time to eat it; even in earlier years when the teachers asked for snacks to be brought in, they would often not make the time for the children to actually eat them, so we would think the children were fine and then only through lots of questions would find out they weren't getting as much to eat as we thought.

Mustdobetter Mon 10-Sep-07 18:27:11

When I asked a couple of the mum's in another Y4 class what they thought, they said they are against snacking between meals. Interestingly, both these people frequent the local cafe several times a week for cafe au lait and pastries!hmm I'm not talking about junk food or about eating just before lunch, but mid-morning, especially after PE, and fruit, carrot sticks, cheese cubes or raisins -- non-messy stuff that the teacher couldn't object to.

ELR Mon 10-Sep-07 18:58:59

do they not have morning break? dd only on reception so dont know what happens in y4,

does seem way too long without anything

littlerach Mon 10-Sep-07 19:02:06

Dds school provide fruit throughout the whole school.

Mustdobetter Mon 10-Sep-07 19:47:04

Yes, they have a morning break, but they don't provide any snack. So far, in the earlier years, they've had their snack in the classroom at some stage during the day, but they've not always been given it or sometimes it's been given just before they leave for home (but they would normally go into the earlier sitting for lunch in that case -- they have two sittings). Snacks have always been provided by the parents, at the teachers' requests, and even in Y3 when we wanted to bring 'healthy' snacks the teacher wanted biscuits. I'm not against biscuits, but I only like good-quality ones -- homebaked or ones with few unnecessary additives -- I kind of couldn't see how they reconciled asking people to provide junky biscuits full of colourings etc., yet at the same time teach 'healthy eating' as a topic.

Hathor Mon 10-Sep-07 19:50:51

Why not tell the teacher what you said in your OP? 6 hours is a long time between meals, and a quick healthy snack mid morning (fruit or veg) would help their concentration surely?

Mustdobetter Mon 10-Sep-07 20:18:46

Yes, that's what I'm hoping to do. Actually this class has one teacher for two days and then another for three days -- the 2nd teacher is new to the school and they obviously haven't got everything worked out between them yet, so I have to put it all in writing so they can discuss it together this Weds! The problem is that I've already had a brief conversation about snack provision with the first teacher (but not yet brought up the bit about the length of time between meals and concentration etc.), and this time I need to present my arguments coherently in writing; I'd like to back them up with facts such as 'recommendatons and guidelines are...' and examples of what other schools do in Y4 (though I don't think there are many other schools where a number of pupils have such a long bus ride and take lunch so late?).

Mustdobetter Mon 10-Sep-07 20:26:04

At the same time I want to ask that the children are allowed water bottles on their desks because the water fountain is outside the classroom but the children are not given the opportunity to get water as often as we think they should. It amazes me that teachers don't seem to be too up with the beat about dehydration, concentration, the fact that children don't often feel thirsty until they have begin to dehydrate (because they apparently have a less sensitive thirst response, which I've always suspected but only today found in writing (www.foodinschools.org). Parents and teachers seem to have the attitude that children shouldn't be 'babied' and that they have to remember to drink without being reminded. This is quite contrary to what is on government websites, but I can't so far find anything that tells me what the guidelines are for maximum times between meals for 8 year olds!

DoubleBluff Mon 10-Sep-07 20:29:21

DS is in yr 3 and they are allowed to take a snck/ drink in for morning break.
In infants school we paid a couple of quid a term for squash and biscuits/ fruit.
Agree far too long tto go without, poor kids must be keeling over come luunch time - I bet teacher has a tea and biscuit at break time.

Mustdobetter Mon 10-Sep-07 20:37:05

Yes, I think that if they reject our request we will ask them directly if they have morning tea. I think we all know what the answer will be!grin

portonovo Tue 11-Sep-07 08:46:09

Yes, you must ask that your children are allowed snacks. It's one thing for the school to insist on a certain type of snack (ours is fresh fruit or veg or 'plain' dried fruit only), but no snack at all...? Your school has a really late lunchtime too - ours is 12.20 and I know children are still starving at that time, let alone at 12.55. And like you say, many have such an early bus to catch too. When I was an assistant for a year in a German school, school started at 8 so everyone had an early start. So everyone, staff and children alike, took in a really filling snack for breaktime, usually bread with meat and/or cheese, to keep them going until their very late lunch.

And a child also has the right to regular drinks. Much research has shown children work better and behave better if they are properly hydrated. Our school allows water bottles in classes - they must be sports-top bottles to minimise spillages, they must be named and they must contain only water.

Mustdobetter Tue 11-Sep-07 10:41:01

Yes, water provision is the other issue we have to bring up. There are fountains in the corridor and they have their own cups, but they are not given free access to the fountains and they are never reminded (at this school generally, so I'm just assuming the current teachers are no different) to drink, even on hot days or after sport. Last year the teacher reluctantly agreed to my suggestion that sports bottles be allowed on desks, though I think she only agreed because another Y3 teacher was present and said that they had them in her class.

Hulababy Tue 11-Sep-07 10:43:52

At 5yo DD's school milk is provided at morning breaktime. Children can choose the have water from their water bottle or the water fountain also.

Parents send it a healthy snack for break time. This can be fruit or vegetables, rice cakes, snack bars, etc but not crisps, sweets or chocolate.

Hulababy Tue 11-Sep-07 10:44:54

Oh, and they eat their snacks in the playground during moring break time.

Mustdobetter Sat 22-Sep-07 10:06:12

Had a really unsatisfactory meeting with teachers this week. They have the opinion that bottles of water for the children to drink from are really unhygienic because the children let the water go back into the bottle, together with bits of food, spit, etc. They claim to have 2 medical papers to say how unhygienic it is -- I have asked for the citations, and will be interested to see if they actually come up with them. Apart from the fact that I don't think the spit goes back into the bottle much if at all with a sipper bottle, if they are named, unshared bottles, I think it should be up to the parents to decide if they want to take that 'risk'? I think the risks of dehydration are far greater. I asked how many 1.5 litre bottles they are getting through a day (to fill children's cups) and one said two (that's 3 litres a day between 20 children!) and the other teacher jumped in and said five. DS told me on Thursday that they used 'two whole bottles' that day. I would love people's comments, as I need to feel I am saying the right thing when confronted by these two really strident teachers. Thanks.

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