Childminders play a crucial role in helping the children they care for develop healthy eating habits which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Many childminders also report that the quality of food is a top priority for parents.
We have a range of resources and support available to help childminders meet the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) welfare requirement for ‘healthy, balanced and nutritious’ food and drink, and national best practice for food and drink, and to demonstrate this to parents and Ofsted.
Practical guidance and menus
Our practical guide includes the government-backed Voluntary Food and Drink Guidelines for Early Years Settings in England, as well as advice on encouraging children to eat well, including managing fussy eating and special dietary requirements. If you need some new menu ideas, take a look at our two seasonal menu and recipe books.
You can download copies of the practical guide and menus for free, or order your own hard copies (with discounts for bulk orders).
The National Childminding Association (now PACEY) and childminders across England helped us to develop these guidelines, to ensure they meet childminders’ needs as well as those of larger early years settings. They are all in full support of the practical guide and practical tools. You can find out more from these childminders in the case studies at the bottom of this page.
“This guidance has been tried and tested by NCMA childminders, and offers home-based practitioners some great practical tips and tools for helping children to eat healthily.”
Stuart Turner, NCMA Director of Professional Standards (2011)
42 childminders across five areas of England evaluated their approach to food as part of our Eat Better, Start Better pilot (2011-2013) . You can use our practical tools to check your own approach to food, and display the Early Years Code of Practice for Food and Drink to demonstrate this to parents and Ofsted.
Training on healthy food provision
We offer face-to-face training, accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health, on providing healthy food for children aged one to five years. The training includes meeting the food and drink guidelines, understanding food labels and portion sizes, and encouraging children to eat well. More than 500 early years practitioners, professionals and health professionals around England have attended this training. If you are part of a local group of childminders who would all be interested in this training please contact us for more information.
If online training would be a more practical option for you, take a look at our new Learning Network. The network includes a series of online training courses, which are easily accessible and can be worked through at your own pace, with certificates awarded for each course successfully completed. Discounts are available for multiple licences, and three courses for early years practitioners and professionals will be available from September 2013:
- Providing a healthy diet for young children
- Meeting the food and drink guidelines for early years settings
- Encouraging young children in your care to eat well.
The Children’s Food Trust Award
The Children’s Food Trust Award is our way of helping settings that achieve the highest standards to demonstrate this to parents. It requires you to attain consistently high standards which are benchmarked against national guidelines commissioned by government and produced by the Children’s Food Trust. The Award will give parents and the children in your care confidence in the quality of your meals, and will help you distinguish your business from the competition. Most importantly, through the provision of healthy food in a quality environment, you can be sure that the children in your care are ready to learn.
Find out more, and register free of charge for the Award.
Find out more, from those who have already used the guidelines.
“It’s really helpful to have guidelines that everyone can follow, that way you know you’re doing your best” Julia Deakin, childminder from Doncaster
Please get in touch if you would like any more details about any of our resources or support, or if you have any questions about the food and drink guidelines.