Thank you for writing to me about sensory food play for early years settings.
Like you, I believe it is very important that young children have the opportunity to explore food, use their senses and develop a love of eating vegetables and fruit.
I am aware that the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework sets the standards that all early years providers must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth to the age of five. The Department for Education has also published guidance for early years settings on how to deliver sensory food education.
The Department works with TastEd, which is an organisation that gives children the opportunity to experience the joy of fresh vegetables and fruits through delivering sensory food education that follows the National Food Strategy recommendations. I am aware that over 600 schools and nurseries are already signed up to TastEd's programmes and the Government is committed to ensuring that all settings benefit from these lessons.
The Department has published an article promoting sensory food education on the ‘Help for early years providers’ online platform, which is a resource for childminders, nursery leaders and pre-school practitioners. This supports practitioners to look at incorporating sensory food education into their practice, while delivering the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage requirements. The sensory food education article can be found here: https://help-for-early-years-providers.education.gov.uk/get-help-to-imp….
I can assure you that this is an issue I will continue to monitor closely, as I am aware of the benefits that sensory food play can bring to children.
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking