Magnificent Munchers Food School

The aim of the food school is to encourage children who are picky or fussy eaters to begin to learn to eat a full range of food. Magnificent Munchers Food School is appropriate for children aged 4-10. Children aged 11 and over will be considered on an individual basis.
Children in the age range of 4-7 are still in a very imaginative stage of play and are very interested in their peers. The approach with this age group is very much based around engaging the children through imaginative play with food. The focus is to make food fun.

Children aged 8-10 require a different approach. Children are encouraged to learn about the food using a more constructive and exploring approach which remains fun but is more factual rather than imaginative.

In both group settings, there will be children with similar difficulties to each other. Some will have a strength with aspects of their food tolerance whilst they may struggle with another aspect of a food. The children can be the role model at times which allows for positive reinforcement and increased self-esteem during eating as well as watching others when they are struggling with a food. This is much easier for the children to cope with rather than being in a group with children who do not have any eating difficulties which the child who struggles may view they are never going to be as good as so they may not try.

Each group will consist of  a maximum of 6 children with the OT and 2 therapy assistants at each session. The Speech Therapist will attend the assessment session and at least one further session.

Food schools are held at variety of locations across the Hertfordshire area with a suitable food preparation area. These aren’t usually held within an individuals home.

Sessions run for 75 minutes once a week over a period of 11 weeks. Week 1 is the assessment session.

 

Magnificent Munchers Food School

 

SESSION FORMAT

* 15 minutes warm up with gross motor activities to work on balance, body awareness and preparation for sensory work.

* Children will wash their hands and face and complete some more in depth body awareness around their face and mouth.

* Therapists will introduce foods which will be chosen depending on the child’s area of need and oral motor and perceptual skills level.

* Therapists will work through the steps to eating hierarchy with the children modelling each step with the child. The high staff ratio allows for the children to work at an individual pace within the group setting.

* Food play will last approximately 45-50 minutes following which there will be a clear up time when the children will help throw the food in the bin. Children often take the food interaction to a higher level at this stage as the food is heading to the bin.

* Following clear up children will wash their hands and face again and say goodbye.

PARENTS AND CARERS ROLE

Whilst the children are completing their warm up with the Therapy Assistants the OT and/or the Speech and Language Therapist will spend time with the parents / carers discussing what is happening in the session, give strategies for the week and discuss any progress/concerns which have happened over the course of the week. Parents will also have the opportunity to exchange ideas and support each other over a hot drink.

During the food play aspect of the group parents or carers are asked to sit in the room and observe their child for the first 6-7 weeks. We have found due to the emotional aspect of eating it is beneficial for both parent and child if parents observe the techniques used by the therapy team. Once parents have learnt the techniques they are invited to the table to join in with the food therapy with their child so the techniques become embedded and can be continued once the group is finished. Parents/Carers are given a sheet to complete which tracks the child’s progress with a food.

The Magnificent Munchers Food School aims to make mealtimes fun again and address the concerns of both parents /carers and children who have difficulties eating.To find out more about how Magnificent Munchers Food School benefits children who are picky eaters or have difficulty at mealtimes call 07591 733420 or email the Magnificent Munchers team enquiries@magnificentmunchers.com