On entry a parent will complete the 'About Me' document via their child's online 'Tapestry Journal' which gives them an opportunity to write anything they think the setting needs to know about their child.
This document is designed to support the pre-school key person to gain an overview of the child’s learning and development so far, through a range of questions including; getting to know my family and me, interests and preferences, food and drink, health and development and sleeping and toileting routines. By referring to this paperwork the key person and other staff members are able to better support your child through their settling-in process as they begin to learn the pre-school routines and explore the new environment.
We also refer to paperwork which is completed by the child’s health visitor ‘Now I am Two’. This assesses the child’s on-going development for their age at the time of the assessment and would flag up any developmental concerns and the support already being put into place or that may be needed for the child in the future.
We track all children’s progress with observations, assessment and planning using the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Development Matters and the Early Years Outcomes as a guide for the developmental milestones that your child would typically make at different stages up to the age of 5.
If a parent has any concerns regarding their child’s development our Special Educational Needs & Disability Co-ordinator (SENdCo) is readily available to discuss these with them as is the child’s key person and the lead practitioners.
We have a full time dedicated Special Educational Needs & disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCo) who is responsible for overseeing and ensuring provision is in place for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in the pre-school as a whole.
Each child is assigned a ‘Key Person’ when they join our pre-school who is readily available to parents before and after a pre-school session. They are responsible for supporting their key children within every aspect of pre-school life. We have a very strong management team in place to guide all staff and ensure all of the children’s individual needs are being met; they are also available to speak to daily.
We also work closely with other agencies who may be involved with a child e.g. Speech and Language Therapy and will implement any strategies or follow support plans they may put in place to meet a child’s individual targets.
We implement the ‘Every Child a Talker’ (ECaT) initiative in our pre-school to promote and improve the communication skills of all of the children and also develop the knowledge, confidence and communication skills of our staff team and parents. We also implement ‘Narrative Play Therapy’ as part of our daily ECaT routine. ECaT is used across Southampton and has had a very positive impact on children’s communication and language development.
We work closely with our Early Years Advisory Teacher (EYAT) and can speak to them if we feel a child may need a little extra help and support over and above what can typically be resourced within the pre-school.
The EYAT is able to support us to implement specific strategies in support of your child as well as being able to apply for additional funding to be used to provide extra help for your child e.g. 1-1 support. They can also make referrals to specialist services if this is assessed to be the need.
Children are continuously monitored using observations, assessment and planning.
If a child is receiving outside support e.g. Speech and Language Therapy, we will liaise with both the parents and the professional involved to ensure the child is given opportunities during each pre-school session to fulfil the specific targets set. Being aware of these targets, as well as the child’s views/interests, enables us to focus on their individual strengths thus ensuring that they are fully supported during their time at pre-school.
We use Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) in the pre-school which are monitored weekly for any progress and reviewed every half term by our dedicated SENDCo. Activities are then planned by your child’s key person around your child’s ‘next steps’ in development. Recommended targets are also considered in this planning to ensure your child progresses at a comfortable pace with their individual needs being met.
Parents are given feedback in a variety of ways at our setting which includes daily direct feedback following the end of a session.
Parents are welcome to book appointments with their child’s key person, lead practitioner or SENDCo at any time should they wish to discuss their child’s progress or next steps.
All parents are invited to come in once every half term to discuss and review their child’s on-going progress. Their child’s achieved ‘next steps’ are discussed during this meeting and new ones put into place. Parents input and comments on how to best support these ‘next steps’ both in pre-school and at home are taken on board by the key person who will use this knowledge when planning activities for the weeks ahead.
If an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) is in place, targets and progress are also discussed during these half termly appointments with the key person and / or the SENCo and a new IEP is put in place and then shared with the parents for the weeks ahead.
We are happy to support families as best we can to implement strategies at home and can refer them to services/training where appropriate or requested.
From September 2016 we will be moving over to ‘Tapestry’ online journals which will enable each parent to log into their child’s profile and view their on-going progress more often.
In the structure of our pre-school, individual members of staff are responsible for specific policies, including; Health and Safety, Safeguarding and Behaviour Management. Their role is to ensure all staff members are aware of these policies and the procedures to follow and implement them correctly. All policies are reviewed annually or as and when relevant updates are necessary.
All of our staff members hold a paediatric first aid qualification.
All potential staff have to go through rigorous recruitment process including;
• Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS)
• Suitable references from previous employment
• Occupational health clearance
Our staff members are always readily available for advice, support or guidance regarding your child.
Our daily routine allows the children flexibility to adapt and meet their individual needs and the children are involved in their daily routine. In our pre-school environment we encourage ‘free flow’ around structured activities that the children can choose from as independently as possible with support from the staff team where necessary.
The pre-school also promotes self-help skills in the children.
Our pre-school has a designated Early Years Advisory Teacher (EYAT) who is based in the Early Years Team in Southampton City Council. They specialise in early year’s education and children with Special Educational Needs in the early years.
They support us in a range of areas, from general advice through to accessing appropriate support via referrals to specialist teams including:
• Speech and Language Therapy (SALT)
• Occupational Therapy
• Portage services
• Specialist Teachers for children with sensory needs
We have access to an area Health Visitor who we can refer to for advice. We also have access to a Special Needs Health Visitor via the EYAT
Our SENDCo and one of the Lead Practitioner’s has completed ‘The Role of the Early Years Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator’ training.
The SENDCo attends termly Inclusion Conferences run by the EYAT’s. Information from these conferences is then cascaded to our staff team during staff meetings.
Regular attendance by both of the Lead Practitioners to the local Early Years and Childcare Briefing meetings ensures that the SENDCo and all staff are kept up to date with relevant practice, training and legislation.
All trips require a risk assessment to be carried out and parental consent to be obtained. We ensure that appropriate adult/child ratios are maintained at all times during trips. Parents are welcome to attend trips if they would like to.
A trained paediatric first aider is present on all trips and first aid kits will be taken along with any medication which a child may require for that day.
We carefully consider each child’s individual needs when planning activities or trips.
If for any reason an activity or trip is not suitable for a child, we will make necessary reasonable adjustments to ensure that the child can be included as much as possible.
Our pre-school has two entrances and both of these have wide doorways and are both wheelchair accessible via a small ramp as you enter the building.
The pre-school is on one floor with an extensive outside area that has ramp access to all of the areas.
Toilet facilities are fully accessible and we have access to a disabled toilet and nappy changing facilities within the community centre itself if required.
There may be funding available for equipment that your child is assessed to need by health services.
The pre-school offers visual stimulation for children who have English as an additional language (EAL). This is presented in the form of pictures and multi-language posters on display and dual language books, to enable children with EAL to access the environment as independently as possible.
Starting at the pre-school
Before starting at the pre-school parents are invited to bring their child to visit the setting. The purpose of this is to familiarise both parents and their children with the pre-school environment and to meet the staff and other children, offering them a ‘taste’ of a typical pre-school day.
Parents will be given a copy of ‘My Unique Child’ to take home and complete as well as other admission/consent paperwork which collates valuable information. They then return this completed paperwork either before or as their child starts at the pre-school to give the key person a starting point to begin their assessments of the child’s development.
If a child has already been identified as having additional needs and already has plans in place for this, we will work alongside the parents and other agencies already involved making sure the transition to pre-school is smooth for the child.
Transition from other settings
We will liaise with the other setting and take on board current assessments along with any advice given and use this accordingly.
Parents are also invited for a settling in visit during which they will be introduced to the new key person.
Transition to school
If your child has additional needs we will arrange a meeting with the receiving school to support a smooth transition and to give a clear picture of the need and provision that may be required to be in place.
Schools can arrange visits with us to come and see the children within their pre-school environment.
If it is identified that alongside specialist services your child is likely to require extra support, we can, with your permission apply for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) form which could in turn lead to a statutory EHCP being implemented.
All children’s assessment paperwork is completed before the end of the summer term and handed over to the relevant feeder schools. This includes any paperwork which supported the child whilst they attended our pre-school and this in turn provides the school with all the relevant information needed before the child starts.
Should your child meet the eligibility for additional early years funding support then resources will be used specifically to meet the needs of your child* as per the funding agreement with Southampton City Council.
*There may be cases when we apply for funding for two or more children jointly, based on their level of need.
When planning for each individual child within the pre-school we take each child’s interests and level of development into consideration.
The staff are guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage and they plan activities which support and encourage children to work towards their next developmental steps and this in turn identifies any areas in their development were a child may require extra support.
If we need support and guidance regarding an individual child we will arrange for the Early Years Advisory Teacher (EYAT) to visit the setting to assess the child and advise us if they feel we should be providing additional support. They will support our funding application to Southampton City Council with written observations and any other evidence obtained.
We recognise that you as the parent are the expert on your child and we place a high emphasis on parental involvement in all aspects of every child’s learning, regardless of need.
Should we identify that your child has additional needs through our on-going observations and assessments, your child’s key person or our dedicated SENCo will discuss this with you along with details of any additional provision that will be put in place to support and meet these needs.
We will gain your consent before involving any external agencies relating to specialist support, including the Early Year’s Advisory Teachers (EYAT’s).
We encourage open dialogue around areas of concern and are keen to work with all families co-productively to enhance outcomes for their children.
We hold half termly appointments with parents to enable them to discuss their child’s current interests and achievements and also to share their next steps with them. Parents are then encouraged to contribute to these and continue to support them in the home environment as well.
From September 2016 parents will be encouraged to track their child’s own individual progress through the online ‘Tapestry’ journey.
Parents will be encouraged to contribute to this alongside the key person with photos, notes, comments etc.