The Early Years

Rationing, empty shelves and unavailable supermarket online delivery slots were just some of the problems pre-schools and nurseries encountered during lockdown. For those which remained open for children of key workers, this meant scouring shops looking for food, often standing in long queues as they weren’t given priority treatment.

The Wendy House Day Nursery in Holywell, Wales, looked after key workers’ children, usually 20 a day, during lockdown. Although they had used the same supermarket for 20 years, nevertheless they couldn’t get an online delivery slot and in store, she found empty shelves. She improvised by turning to frozen vegetables and tweaking recipes.

Julie Norris is owner of Crazy4Kids which has five sites in Northamptonshire and one in Walthamstow. Crazy4Kids offers day nurseries, pre-school and wraparound services (breakfast and after school clubs).

The week before lockdown, it was tough getting an online delivery slot and even when she did get one, the order was reduced dramatically. “We went out visiting multiple supermarkets and again we were rationed so it really was a problem,” she says. “Pasta and flour ran out so we had to adapt recipes such as serving a jacket potato with Bolognese sauce instead of pasta.”

Going forward, Julie is looking at alternatives to supermarket deliveries. “We will consider having the bulk delivery from our local wholesaler to one site and then delivering it to the other sites in our delivery trucks,” she said.

For more information on the provision of care for early years visit the National Day Nurseries Association at https://www.ndna.org.uk/ or the Early Years Alliance at www.eyalliance.org.uk

WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES FOR FOOD PROVISION IN EARLY YEARS?

Where children are provided with meals, snacks and drinks, they must be healthy, balanced and nutritious. Before a child is admitted to the setting the provider must also obtain information about any special dietary
requirements, preferences and food allergies that the child has, and any special health requirements. Fresh drinking water must be available and accessible at all times. Providers must record and act on information from
parents and carers about a child’s dietary needs.

There must be an area which is adequately equipped to provide healthy meals, snacks and drinks for children as necessary. There must be suitable facilities for the hygienic preparation of food for children, if necessary
including suitable sterilisation equipment for babies’ food. Providers must be confident that those responsible for preparing and handling food
are competent to do so. In group provision, all staff involved in preparing and handling food must receive training in food hygiene.

Providers must make the following information available to parents and/or carers:
• food and drinks provided for children

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stageframework–2