Making nutrition a priority in an early years setting: Tender Years Day Nursery and the Early Years Nutrition Partnership
15th May 2017
By Gillian Kelsall, EYN Partnership registered nutrition professional
I’ve been working with the Early Years Nutrition Partnership since it was first launched in May 2016, and I’m really excited to be coming along to Childcare Expo in Manchester this year to try and spread the word about the work we are doing with early years settings across the country.
As one of the EYN Partnership registered nutrition professionals I provide ‘hands-on’ help to nurseries and pre-schools that are looking to improve and enhance their approach to nutrition practice.
One of the settings I work in the West Midlands, Tender Years Day Nursery, has just been rated Outstanding by Ofsted, and we were particularly delighted as the Ofsted report cited the work we are doing as part of our joint working relationship as an example of the nursery’s outstanding approach!
Sarah Barker is Manager at Tender Years and was very involved in the inspection process. “The Ofsted inspector asked us lots of questions about the EYN Partnership, and we were able to tell her about the changes we had made, and how they were benefiting the children. We had a lot that we could show her and she was really, really impressed with everything that we had to tell her during the inspection.”
At Tender Years we started by making some changes to the afternoon snack menu and have subsequently changed the tea menus, coming up with three new menus that the children and staff all love, and that the parents have responded really positively to as well. For other settings, the changes we make might be different, myself and my colleagues are all able to tailor and personalise the support we provide to settings, which is one of the advantages of the ‘hands-on’ nature of the EYN Partnership.
As part of the EYN Partnership programme, team members can also study for a Level 3 CACHE qualification in nutrition and hydration in the early years.
Sarah Florence, a Level 5 practitioner at Tender Years is also doing the Level 3 course. She told me, “The Level 3 course that we are doing is really good fun. It’s updating my knowledge, and I’ve been particularly pleased to learn more about hydration. It’s good to have some of the knowledge behind what we’re trying to do with the children with introducing a variety of foods and giving them a balanced diet. I’ve enjoyed the practical exercises, especially the ones I’ve done with the children.”
It’s hugely rewarding knowing that the practitioners I help with the Level 3 course will champion early years nutrition in their own setting and for the rest of their careers. It’s one of the benefits of registration with the Early Years Nutrition Partnership that I am most proud of and will be keen to chat to practitioners about at Childcare Expo Manchester. Professional development for teams, changes tailored to suit your needs, and the chance to impress the Ofsted inspectors, what more could you ask for? So come on, join us in our mission to get little ones eating better in early years settings!