At the point that a child joins the setting they are signed up to an online learning journal called “Parentzone”. We ask parents during their initial visits to complete a section of this called “about me”. This document is designed to support setting staff 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. This document will be used by your child’s “key person” to refer to whilst your child is settling-in and to support staff to gain some insight into your family life.
We continually monitor a children’s progress through a cycle of observation, assessment and planning. We use the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Development Matters and the Early Years Outcomes as a guide for the development milestones that a child would typically make at different stages up to the age of 5.
If you have any concerns about your child’s development please feel free to discuss these at any time with your child’s key worker or the setting Special Educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo).
We have a dedicated Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) who is responsible for overseeing the provision for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in the setting as a whole. In addition to this we have a designated SENCo for each age group whose role is it to offer direct support to staff and children within that group.
Every child is assigned a “Key Person” upon joining the nursery. The Key Person is responsible for supporting their key children within every aspect of nursery life. We have a strong system in place whereby staff are guided by an experienced management team to meet the needs of the child.
If there are other professionals or services involved with your child e.g. Portage or Speech and Language Therapy, we will work closely with them and follow recommended support plans to meet individual targets.
We use the “Every Child a Talker” (ECaT) initiative which aims to improve the communication skills of children aged 0-5 years, and to develop the knowledge, confidence and communication skills of practitioners and parents. ECaT is used across Southampton and has had a very positive impact on children’s communication and language. In monthly newsletters we give ‘Top Tips’ to enable parents to continue their child’s learning at home.
If we feel that your child requires provision over and above what can typically be resourced within the setting we will work closely with the Southampton City Council Early Years and Advisory Teachers (EYATS) who can support us to put specific strategies in place to support your child, as well as applying for additional funding which will be used to provide extra help that your child might require e.g. 1:1 support. Additionally they can make referrals to specialist services if this is assessed to be the need.
Children are continuously monitored through observations, assessment and planning.
If a child is receiving specialist support from an outside agency, for example Speech and Language Therapy, and given specific targets, we will liaise with both the parents and the professionals involved. 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 the nursery. We then complete an Individual Education and Care Plan (IECP), and will review the progress made regularly. This is carried out every three months or when progress is made.
When planning activities for children, staff will ensure that any next steps or recommended targets are considered. The activity will be planned to ensure it best fits the child’s needs.
Parents are given regular feedback regarding their child’s progress through various formats including termly parent’s evenings, through your child’s online learning journal, “parentzone” and through direct feedback following sessions where we will also discuss next steps.
Parents are welcome to book appointments to have a chat with their child’s key person at any time in order to discuss progress and next steps.
If a child has set recommendations which are monitored through an Individual Education and Care Plan (IECP) this will be shared with parents when set up and then following each review. This is carried out every 3 months or when progress is made.
We are happy to support families as best we can to implement strategies at home and will refer to services/training where appropriate/requested.
Within the management structure of the setting we have individual members of staff who are responsible for specific policies, including: Health and Safety, Safeguarding and Behaviour Management. Their role is to ensure all staff are aware of policies and that they are implemented correctly. All policies are subject to annual review.
All staff hold a paediatric first aid qualification.
All potential staff are subject to a thorough recruitment process including;
- Suitable references from previous employment
- Occupational health clearance
- Enhanced Disclose and Barring Service check (DBS).
Staff are always available to talk to the parents, should they need any advice, support or guidance regarding their child.
There is a strong emphasis throughout the nursery on social support for the children. Within each of the three age groups, we have flexibility which allows the daily routine to be adapted to suit individual needs.
Children are involved in their daily routine. There is lots of opportunity for them to “free flow” around structured activities of their choice. Staff encourage the children to be as independent as possible, and the environment supports this. The nursery also promotes self-help skills for example pouring their own drinks.
Our primary mechanism for specialist support is through the setting’s designated Early Years Advisory Teacher (EYAT). The EYAT team specialise in early year’s education and children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in the early years – they are based in the Early Years Team in Southampton City Council. 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 also have a designated Health Visitor, who will visit the setting, on average once a term, who works closely with the nursery SENCo.
Each Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator SENCo within the Centre has completed “The Role of the Early Years Special Educational Needs Co-coordinator” training.
The Centre SENCo attends termly Inclusion Conferences run by the EYAT’s. Information from these conferences is cascaded to all staff members through internal meeting processes.
Regular attendance by the SENCo to the local Early Years and Childcare Briefings ensures that all staff are kept up to date with relevant practice, training and legislation.
We also have staff who have attended training on the “Attention Autism Programme”
We also access training based on individual children’s needs.
We have regular trips outside of the setting. All trips require a risk assessment to be carried out and parental consent needs 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. 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 building has wide doorways and a small ramp as you enter the building making it wheelchair accessible.
The nursery is on one level. We will of course look at each case individually and work with families to consider possible ways to meet the specific needs of the child. Where feasible we will make any necessary adaptions and reasonable adjustments.
There is potential funding available for equipment that your child is assessed to need by health services.
The setting offers visual aids for children who have English as an additional Language (EAL). This is presented in the form of pictures, to enable children with EAL to access the environment as independently as possible.
Starting at the Centre.
Before starting at the centre parents are invited to bring their child for as many introduction visits as necessary. The purpose of this is to familiarise parents and children with the setting and to meet staff and other children whilst offering a “taster” of a typical day.
All children’s online education journals (Tapestry) are completed by the end of July and sent through to the school prior to the child starting. This includes any paperwork which supported the child whilst they attended the setting. This provides the school with all the relevant information before the child starts.
Some schools will arrange visits with us to come and see the children within their nursery environment.
If your child has additional needs we can arrange a meeting with the receiving school to support a smooth transition and to give clear picture of need and provision that is required to be in place in the new setting.
If we identify, alongside specialist services that a young person is likely to require support above that is typically available in a mainstream school, for a prolonged period of time, we will ask your permission to apply for an application for an Education, Health and Care (EHC), leading to a statutory EHC Plan. We will do this in a timely manner to ensure that your child has the support they need on entry to school.
If a child meets the eligibility for early years funding for additional support the resources will be used specifically to meet the needs of the individual* child/young person 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.
Our staff carefully plan for each individual child within the nursery, taking into account their interests and level of development.
The staff are guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), and use plans which identify and track a child’s current age and stage of development. This allows staff to plan activities which support and encourage the child to work towards their next development milestone. In turn, this will identify any areas where a child requires extra support.
If we feel we need support or guidance regarding a child, we will arrange an appointment with the Early Years Advisory Teacher (EYAT) who will visit the setting. The Early Years Advisory Teacher will advise us if they feel we should be providing additional support and will support our funding application to Southampton City Council with written observations.
We recognise that parents are the expert in their child and place a high emphasis on parental involvement in all aspect of every child’s learning, regardless of need.
If we identify that your child has additional needs we 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 get your consent before involving any external agencies relating to specialist support, including the Early Years Advisory Teachers (EYAT’s). We encourage open dialogue around areas of concern and are keen to work with families co-productively to enhance outcomes for the child.
We hold termly parents evenings to discuss progress in a more formal capacity, although we welcome parents at any time, we have discuss children’s next steps and look what happens next with parents/carers.
Parents can track individual progress through the use of a child’s “parentzone” Journey – whilst this is the place where staff collate observations, pictures and evidence of an individual’s work, we also encourage parents to share their own observations, notes, and comments as well as pictures and videos.