How does the early years setting know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs or disabilities?
We are aware that some children may have additional needs and are proactive in ensuring that appropriate action can be taken when such a child is identified within the provision. Sensitive and appropriate steps are taken to promote the overall welfare and development of the child within the setting and consultation with parents or carers is paramount. All children are monitored individually throughout their time at Tops. We understand that every child develops at an individual rate and way, with this in mind we are keen to identify any gaps in your child’s development and ensuring they are supported to close any developmental gaps. We are skilled at identifying when children require further support to close gaps in their development and able to contact specialist support to meet the child current needs and develop plans to assist their learning. We have a dedicated Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) who is fully trained to support children with additional needs, they also have secure links with the Local Authority. The SENCO can be accessed by any parent for support or discussions as needed, the SENCO is also available for all staff within the setting to discuss any concerns and to seek support or guidance. All our practitioners have completed basic awareness of special educational needs and have clear expectations of their role in highlighting and supporting children who may require additional support either short term or for the long term. All staff within the setting are committed to lifelong learning and development and attend courses and training to update their skills and knowledge.
How will the early years settings staff support my child?
On arrival of the setting each child is allocated a Key Person who is responsible for learning about your child’s current interests, favourite things and form a special bonds to ensure they feel happy and secure within the nursery. Each Key Person strives to work closely with the parents as well as the children, on arrival they will discuss your child’s current learning and development stage using an online development profile. They will update the information that is provided by yourselves to ensure we have a secure starting point for your child and to develop interesting and fun activities to support and progress their development. We regularly relay this information to yourselves through the means of email, you will be notified every time a written, photographic, video or audio observation is created to document their progress and achievements. As the parents and carers you will have constant access to their development profile online and can add your own observations to share in their profile and with their key person, sparking conversations, new ideas for activities or record a special achievement/ success moment. This process is also shared with you termly at a private parent consultation where you can discuss your child’s current development as well as any concerns or worries you may have. The Key Person in turn will support you through any additional processes that may need to be instigated and monitored. We strive to share information with any professionals that are working with your child including speech and language therapist, physiotherapists, educational physiologist, health visitors and school teachers when your child reaches school leaving age. Supporting your child within the setting the Key Person will ensure they become familiar in their surroundings, we are aware of your child’s individual routine, we are able to create a social story which can be designed specifically for your child to take home, allowing you to talk about nursery at home with your child to ensure they settle well. The social story will show pictures of the key features of the nursery that relate to your child, it will display a picture of their key person, their room and where their belongs lives, on occasions we have used a toy or object special to the child to make these stories more relevant for them. All documents shared with and by other professionals are thoroughly read and implemented in the form of an Individual Education Plan (IEP).
How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is used with children from birth to 5 years of age. The EYFS guidance has four underpinning aims that run through the framework, these are:
- Quality and consistency in all early years’ settings;
- A secure foundation for learning and development planned around the individual child’s needs and interests;
- Partnership working between practitioners and parents and/or carers;
- Equality of opportunity.
Besides these aims, clear principles are set for working with children: that each child is to be regarded as unique; that children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships; that the environment in which they learn should be stimulating, using play and appropriate learning opportunities; and that they learn and develop in different ways. This allows us to tailor the children learning experiences depending on their current needs and developmental levels. On entry to the nursery a development starting point is formed, from this we target support to progress the children further. If at this stage gaps or delays are identified we will work with the parents/ carers to discuss potential support or professionals that can support your child whilst at the setting. The staff use the EYFS to plan age and stage appropriate activities that spark imagination, conversations, excitement, awe and wonder. The EYFS has 7 seven areas of development which are divided in to:
Prime areas: fundamental areas of development, the building blocks of learning
- Communication and language
- Personal social and emotional development
- Physical development
Specific areas; these are introduced at the age 2 years old, this can be related to fine tuning their knowledge.
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
These developmental areas are designed and set out so practitioners can easily highlight when support is required and adapt activities to support the children in a way that suits their needs. All planned activities are play based and lead from the children’s interest regardless of special education needs, disability or English as additional language. We use body cues and facial expressions to gauge children’s interest levels to ensure they are retaining information as planned from the activity. We use every child’s a talker tracker sheets to ensure we monitor and support children’s speech and language throughout their time with us.
How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?
At Tops Day Nurseries we feel that parents are their child’s first educators and it is important to work together to help children develop to their full potential. We are always available to discuss any concerns or worries you may have as they arise, we always provide a daily handovers when you drop off and collect your child at the nursery. We invite you to join us at the end of each term to discuss your individual child’s development, progress or areas that require further support. If it has been identified that further support is required we can support you as parents and carers to deliver some fun activities at home by developing at home activity sheets, borrowing selected resources such a counting materials, books, dolls etc. We have strong links with the children’s centre who also provide activities and sessions that may support you and your child.
Using the Early Years foundation stage and our secure partnerships with outside agencies we are able to support you to receive additional help where required. We work closely with the Local Authority and discuss children’s needs as required and access support groups, referrals to other professionals that may be able to support your child. Through daily monitoring and development trackers we are able to have a clear understanding of your child’s current development mile stones and next steps to work towards. The SENCO and your child’s key person work closely together within the nursery to ensure early identification and support is put in place as quick as possible
Parents are asked to complete an annual parent questionnaire to support us to work better together. The questionnaire highlights any issues or celebrations within the nursery which we can work better and smarter together.
What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?
Children need to learn to consider the views, feelings, needs and rights of others and the impact that their behaviour has on people, places and objects. This is a developmental task that requires support, encouragement, teaching and setting the correct example. The principles that underpin how we achieve positive and considerate behaviour exist within the settings for promoting personal, social and emotional development. We have a named person who has overall responsibility for developing positive behaviour in each of our settings. Children’s welfare can only be safeguarded and promoted, and individuals at risk protected when all relevant agencies and individuals accept their share of responsibility and co-operate with one another in a multi-agency approach. We work closely with many agencies and pride ourselves on developing and forming bonds with relevant agencies to support our children. We maintain a comprehensive health record for each child, which includes an up to date immunization vaccination programme, details of illness, disability, allergies and sensitivities and accidents and incidents. If someone is injured or requires medical attention, a member of staff will attend to them to assess their needs and evaluate the situation. A paediatric first aid trained staff will administer first aid, sending someone to call for an ambulance promptly if required and someone to inform the manager. The safety of all the children is paramount and other staff will supervise and distract them while first aid is being administered. Confidentiality is maintained throughout. The accident and incident book is also regularly reviewed with respect to individual children to identify concerns or trends in development. These forms are maintained in the child’s incident file. Health and Safety Reps and Managers review these on a monthly basis to watch for any problems arising.
We understand that well-being is not always about the physical health of children but also the emotional well-being of the children is fundamental to their growth and development. Through our stringent planning and monitoring systems we can identify any support that may be required, at certain times in children’s lives they will be presented with change which may also stunt any further progress. Through these transitions we work closely with the families and child to ensure we are supporting you in a holistic manner to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. We seek advice where needed and build bond not only with schools but other settings, medical practitioners, and counsellors.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the early years setting?
Within our setting we have a SENCO, this person has attended specific training to ensure they have the correct knowledge and understanding in all aspects. Regular updates and training are given to this person and the Area Inco is always available for help and support. There is a deputy SENCO who steps up to take on the role when our SENCO is not present. We also have access to lots of different professionals who can support us when needed, these include speech and language therapists, occupational health, health visitors. We are able to contact many outside professionals to support when needed these are called upon when we deem the children, staff or parents need support.
What training have the staff supporting children with SEND had or are having?
The SENCO will have attended an accredited course in Special Educational Needs (SEN). They will co-ordinate the provision for all SEN pupils and give advice and support to staff members and families. They will liaise closely with the child’s keyworker and oversee the child’s records along with outside professionals. The Manager holds an up to date list of relevant staff training that has been completed as well as the local borough courses that are available, they will liaise with the SENCO to ensure that training opportunities are maximised for the setting and for the individual staff members. Each nursery has a minimum of one member of staff fully trained to be a SENCO and aims to have two. All nursery nurses qualified to Level 3 have completed basic awareness of special needs as part of their training, including observations and evaluations of children’s development. Our staff team are all committed to continuous professional development to further develop their skills. In house training is also offered to staff for additional support within their role as practitioners.
How will my child be included in activities outside the early years setting including trips?
All activities that are planned in the setting are ensured that they meet the needs of ALL children within the setting. All staff take into account all children’s needs and requirements when planning trips and outings to ensure it is all inclusive. We endeavour to adapt where needed to ensure these planned and spontaneous trips meet the children’s emotional, social and physical needs and supports their current developmental stage. All trips and outings are fully risk assessed, we risk assess the route we will be taking and the new surroundings, we also consider the children that will be attending the trips to ensure safety for all and needs are meet whilst out on the trip. Ratios can be changed to suit the needs of the children and the trip.
How accessible is the early years setting environment? (indoors and outdoors)
Our setting is situated in two buildings, one bungalow on one level and the main bungalow with a 1st floor. The first bungalow has access through a side door with one step into the building. Once inside the building is an open level access with a small step down into the garden area. The second bungalow again has a small step into the building via double doors both on the front of the building and into our preschool room. The main area of preschool is on one level with a small stage area which has 3 small steps up to. The main garden can be access through a singular door which leads out to the main garden with a grassed area being accessed by 3 small steps (this can be accessed through the 2 year old garden via a side gate). The 1st floor has no lift access but a lower and higher rail are available for ease of getting upstairs. The main area of the room is one level with stair gates separating the 4 areas. The sleep area is accessed via 3 steps.
How will the early years setting prepare and support my child to join the early years setting, transfer to a new setting/school?
Transition is a “change or passage from one stage to another” here at Tops Day Nurseries we recognise that all children will experience transitions in their early years especially in relation to their care and education. Whilst transition is necessary and a part of our natural development it can also be stressful and upsetting for both parents and children. Mini transitions happen daily as children change from home to nursery or from activity to activity. Large transitions happen less frequently and will need greater support and planning for. Practitioners will work with your family to support your child’s journey before, during and after the transition. Our aim is to help the child and family deal with these changes to ensure they feel comfortable, confident and emotionally secure during times of transition. We will support this in a number of additional ways, parents will be requested to provide the nursery with their child’s development record from their previous setting (where available) to support in planning for your child’s development and learning. With parental permission Tops practitioners will contact the previous setting to share information that will help us to care and plan for your child’s education and a new child form will be completed by the nursery administrator/key person. We want to be involved in supporting other transitions that happen for our children outside of the setting and aim to create an environment where parents can communicate information regarding such circumstances to enable us to work together. We use play as a medium to support the children through these times, and believe through working together we will be able to make transitions as smooth as possible.
How are the early years settings’ resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
All children’s individual needs are reviewed and monitored and we ensure through its procedures and ethos that all practice are inclusive. As a setting we will ensure that appropriate equipment is kept within the setting to meet your child’s needs, and if items need purchasing we will do this, this is to again provide the best suitable care for the children within the setting.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
All children are monitored individually throughout their time at Tops. We assume that every child will develop at an individual rate and way. Therefore each child must be observed individually in order to provide the most appropriate environment for them to flourish. It is important to identify, as early as possible, when a child has difficulties with any area of development, so that action can be taken to assist the child appropriately. Tops Day Nursery practitioners work on the graduated approach system, this enables us to provide specific help to individual young children. The approach recognises that there is a continuum for SEN and where necessary brings increasing specialist expertise to support the child who is experiencing difficulty. Through our regular monitoring and observations we may identify a child who needs additional support. Key workers, SENCO and parents will then work together using a graduated response, assess, plan, do and review to support the child’s development progress. If we feel that additional support is required from outside agencies these will be contacted but only after consultation with the parents and permission is granted. The SENCO will contact the SEN team and provide them with copies of all relevant documents, observations, strategies and approaches used with the child. A member of the SEN team will arrange to meet the SENCO, parents and child to talk over the concerns. Further information from other professionals involved with the child and family will also be sought with parental permission.
How are parents involved in the early years setting? How can I be involved?
We believe that parents know more about their children than anyone else and that they have a right to be involved in decisions relating to their child’s care and education. Whilst your child is in our care we are committed to involve parents in the following ways:
- Sharing up to date records on your child’s development,
- Hold termly meetings to discuss achievements and areas of support being provided for your children, Provide a termly summary of your child’s achievements and future focuses,
- Up to date newsletters, website and social networking opportunities.
- Parents display boards,
- Opportunities to join the site parent committee,
- Parenting training support and courses
- An open door policy for all parents to be able to drop in to the setting at any time.
All these ways can ensure that you get all the information you need about your child and the nursery while your are with us all these methods allow you to share your views and opinions with us along the way.
Who can I contact for further information?
To enrol in the nursery you would need to call and speak with the Nursery manager who can talk you through the process and arrange a visit to look at the nursery and discuss any concerns or questions you may have. If you already attend the nursery your first point of contact to discuss anything about your child would be the key person, they can then bring in the SENCO if required to discuss any further concerns you may have and they will be able to seek the right support for your child. When you are worried or have any concerns about your child at any point the child’s key person or SENCO will always be available for you to talk to. The SENCO for this setting is Stephanie Walker, and she is contactable through Tops Day Nurseries. The Local children’s centre can also provide you with support and advice.