snacks in school

snacks, snack time in your classroom, how to handle snacksSeveral teachers have asked this question, and it’s always something that new teachers wonder about when they are deciding how to plan for the year and set up the various aspects of their program.

Some of the teachers in my school collect $20 from parents, others leave snack entirely up to each family to provide for their own child on a daily basis.  I’ve found that when dealing with young children, especially my Y5’s, snack time is very important to them.

In the past, when I’ve left snack up to the parents, I usually had more than just a few who came with nothing at all, then I’m left with tearful little ones with nothing to do but rescue them by providing something. Sometimes when other children see what they are getting they often want that too.  Some parents don’t seem to follow through with sending in a monetary donation as well.

I’ve found that the most successful thing for me has been the “Snack Sack”. My parents have commented that they really enjoy handling snack in this way as well.  I send a note home to parents explaining the Snack Sack; depending on how many students I have, students are usually responsible for only one snack per month.  If I have a large class, they might have to bring in snack every other month.   The last week of the previous month I send home a calendar for the new month listing the students’ names on the day they will be providing snack.

I have 2 heavy-duty vinyl bags that can be thrown in the washer if need be, that say: Mrs. Henderson’s Snack Sack on them.  One is used as a spare in case a child is absent.  Parents are informed that there is no need to get a snack bag to me should this happen.  I have a calendar posted on a small bulletin board so I know who to send the bag home with the night before.

The bag in their child’s backpack is an instant reminder that they will be bringing snack in the next day.  The handles on the bag make it easy to carry.  As soon as a child hands me the bag, I empty the contents, check the calendar and send the bag home with the next child.  I have a few snacks on hand incase a student is absent. Directions for this procedure are listed in my Sub Folder as well.

Parents have commented that they really like this system because it’s easy on the budget, easy to do, they don’t have to remember, figure out, and provide a snack every day; and the children get a wonderful variety of nutritious snacks that are above and beyond what a parent would be doing on a daily basis.  My students feel special as they get to be the Snack Helper for that day and everyone sings a "Thank You" song to them.  Everyone HAS a snack and is eating the SAME thing so no tears or grumpiness.

It’s a nice learning opportunity that teaches responsibility as well.  Many parents make it a quality-moment time with their child and allow them to go shopping with them to pick out the snack and beverage for their class.  Some moms bake something with their child and make the experience even more memorable, especially if we are celebrating a theme day.

I figure out the Snack Calendar so that I'm sending the Snack Sack home with the children who are celebrating birthdays that month.  I try to designate a day as close to their birthday as possible if we are not having school on THE day.  This makes Snack Time even more special.   However, I do not allow cake or cupcakes because of the mess and lack of nutritional value.

The Snack Sack has definitely been a win-win concept for the students, parents and even me as it has been truly hassle free!

Click on the link to view/print my class Snack Sack letter.

Click on the link to view/print a generic snack calendar to fill out.

As always, I’d love to hear your comments of how you handle snack time in your class!

Bon Appetit!