Nursery World Awards 2020 - Nursery Food

Friday, February 5, 2021

Elmscot Broussa Day Nursery, Altrincham

Elmscot Broussa places a strong emphasis on good, healthy food, and everything is made from scratch, on site, using basic ingredients wherever possible.

As part of Elmscot nursery group, the setting has a comprehensive food policy based on national standards governing all aspects of food provision – and even its own recipe book. Recipes for each 10-week menu are checked two or three times a year by a qualified paediatric dietitian. These recipes specify the brand of products where required, so the basic components of each ingredient can be checked.

All desserts are free from trans fats, no food is fried, no genetically modified foods are allowed and limited processed foods are used, keeping well within the guideline of 75 per cent of meals to be freshly prepared using unprocessed ingredients.

The setting buys all its fruits and vegetables from local greengrocers and its meat suppliers all meet animal welfare requirements. All foods have strong scents and use lots of textures and colours.

Consultation with parents helps the setting respect each child’s individual requirements, from cultural beliefs and home circumstances to allergies and weaning.

Learning about food and where it comes from as well as how to develop good eating habits are priorities at the nursery. Children participate in activities focusing on the life cycle of foods and are regularly involved in growing, preparing and tasting food in the on-site herb garden and vegetable patch. Visits from local suppliers and meetings with the nursery chef also help inform children’s learning.

Children go on regular shopping trips to local supermarkets, bakeries and greengrocers, and use food to celebrate festivals such as the Chinese New Year, National French Week and Harvest Festival.

The nursery has a dedicated mealtime policy, which lays out its approach to meals to staff, children and parents, with the aim of ensuring expectations of table manners and behaviour are clear and consistent.

Older children are encouraged to wait before starting their meal until all the others have been served. There is always at least one adult sat with each table and, if possible, they will eat with children rather than standing up to supervise. Adults should set a good example by eating the same food as the children and avoiding showing any dislikes. They should encourage independence at mealtimes and offer support depending on the age and individual needs of the child.

Children are encouraged to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, and mealtimes are calm, sociable times of the day where children and adults reflect on their day so far, have the chance to talk and learn about the foods they are eating, and discover where they come from and what they do for our bodies.

Child-sized utensils, crockery, tables and chairs are provided to make it easier for children to serve themselves and learn to eat independently. Meals are presented on platters and food is kept separate so children can choose to take what they like, although they are encouraged to try most things. All children are encouraged to serve themselves and to be considerate of the needs of others on their table.

Children scrape their own plates, and staff give praise to children who have eaten well. There are table monitors who wear a ‘helper crown’ and set the table ready for the next meal.

FINALIST

Amberley Hall Day Nursery

CRITERION

Open to early years settings whose approach to and provision of nutritious food promotes children’s health and well-being. Please note that after preliminary screening, it may be determined by the judges that a site visit is necessary to determine a winner

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