Food is not just about eating. It’s a social and often playful, sensual activity that might start when we plant a tomato seed together.

We encourage children to make connections between the plants and animals around us and the food we eat as well as thinking about how food is made by making it ourselves and talking about those who produce it through initiatives such as Fair Trade.


Staff and children who wish to make bread every morning. This is baked and eaten with butter or dairy-free spread, often with fruit, during mid morning snack and may be available in the afternoon.

Afternoon snacks vary through the week and might include, fruit and dried fruit, vegetable sticks, cheese, home made scones or cake.

Water is always available and milk is available at snack time. Children who go to  Forest School may have a small cup of hot chocolate, and children gather for a hot chocolate at the Centre at the end of the day.

Children may make one chocolate krispie (cornflakes and a small piece of melted chocolate) to take home at the end of the day.

We ask that parents do not leave snacks in children’s bags that are left at Centre all day (it’s ok to pack a snack if your child is going to Stickland) but look after them until hometime. It is important that staff are aware of all food in the setting in order to ensure children with allergies are not exposed to danger.

We understand families need for hometime snacks and invite you to make a donation in exchange for a snack for the journey home (for parents and children!) at reception.


Well-balanced meals are prepared by Edinburgh Council Monday to Thursday. They include a vegetarian option and always cater for dietary needs. We are working with Council catering providers to ensure meals are developed with young children in mind.

On Fridays the Centre provides a meal cooked on-site.

Children going to Stickland eat a lunch provided by the Centre, which usually includes soup, bread and fillings and fromage frais. We encourage children who know they are going to Stickland to bring a snack from home.

Parents are welcome to provide packed lunches for their child but we ask that you provide healthy food, do not include food with nuts, and especially do not send in fizzy or sugary drinks or sweets.

We do not use nuts (including peanut butter) in any food provided by the Centre.

Eating together

Mealtimes are social occasions where children learn important skills.  We encourage children to lay tables, serve themselves food and pour water, and to clear away dishes afterwards.

All children are given a choice about what and how much they want to eat. We have found that children are influenced by others to try new foods. We never insist that children eat their lunch. They are encouraged to ‘try just a little’ of foods that are new or disliked.

If your child’s appetite is poor and/or they have not eaten very much, we will let you know when you pick your child up.

The Centre provides healthy snacks and lunches for children attending Stickland. Staff, and children who wish to, prepare bread each morning, which is eaten often with fruit mid morning. Staff prepare lunch on Fridays. We take into account the cultural and dietary needs of individual children, including food allergies.

Feeding babies

Bottle-fed babies are fed on their own in accordance with their rhythms and not as part of a prescribed routine.  We support mothers to come in and feed their babies throughout the day. We can store breast milk in our freezer if that is more convenient for you.