We believe that children settle best when they have a key person to relate to, who knows them and their parents well, and who can meet their individual needs. Research shows that a key person approach benefits the child, the parents, the staff and the setting by providing secure relationships in which children thrive, parents have confidence, our staff are committed, and the setting is a happy and dedicated place to attend or work in.
We want children to feel safe, stimulated and happy in the setting and to feel secure and comfortable with our staff. We also want parents to have confidence in both their children’s well-being and their role as active partners with our setting. We aim to make our setting a welcoming place where children settle quickly and easily because consideration has been given to the individual needs and circumstances of children and their families.
The key person role is set out in the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Each child must have a key person. These procedures set out a model for developing a key person approach that promotes effective and positive relationships for children.
- Weallocate a key person before the child starts.
- The key person is responsible for:
- Providing an induction forthe family and forsettling the child into our setting.
‒ Offeringunconditional regard forthe child and being non-judgemental.
‒ Working with the parents toplan and deliver a personalised plan forthe child’s well-being, care and learning.
‒ Actingas the key contact forthe parents.
Developmental records and forsharing information on a regular basis with the child’s parents tokeep those records up to date, reflecting the full picture ofthe child in our setting and athome.
‒ Having links with other carers involved with the childand co-ordinating the sharing ofappropriate information about the child’s development with those carers.
‒ Encouraging positive relationships between children in her/his key group, spending time with them as a group each day.
Wepromote the role ofthe key person as the child’s primary carer in our setting, and as the basis for establishing relationships with other adultsand children.
- Beforeachildstartstoattendour setting,weuseavarietyofwaystoprovidehis/herparentswith information.Theseincludewritteninformation(including our online prospectusandpolicies),displaysabout activitiesavailablewithinthesetting,informationdaysandeveningsandindividualmeetingswithparents.
- The key person welcomes and looks afterthe child and his/her parents atthe child’s firstsession and during the settling-in process.
- Wemay offera home visit by the person who will be the child’s key person toensure all relevant information about the child can be made known.
- Weuse the firstsession atwhich a child attends toexplain the routine and complete the child’s welcome sheet which must be signed by the parent.
- Before the child joins, we explain the process ofsettling-in with his/her parents which consists of one-hour sessions building to the full day over a 4 week period. If the child struggles following this, we jointly decide on the best way tohelp the child tosettle into the setting. Conversely, if the child
settles securely before the 4-week period, we may bring forward the full day.
- Wehave an expectation thatthe parent, carer or close relative, will stayformostofthe sessions during the firstweek, gradually taking time away from their child; increasing this time as and when the child is able tocope.
- Youngerchildren will take longer tosettle in, as will children who have not previously spent time away from home. Children who have had a period ofabsence may also need their parent tobe on hand tore- settle them.
- Wejudge a child tobe settled when they have formed a relationship with their key person; forexample, the child looks for the key person when he/she arrives, goes tothem forcomfort,and seems pleased to be with them.The child is also familiar with where things are and is pleased tosee other children and participate in activities.
- When parents leave, we ask them tosay goodbye totheir child and explain thatthey will be coming back, and when.
- Werecognise thatsome children will settle more readily than others, but thatsome children who appear to settle rapidly are not ready to be left. We expect that the parent will honour the commitment to stay for at least the first week, or possibly longer, until their child can stay happily without them.
- We do not believe that leaving a child to cry will help them to settle any quicker. We believe that a child’s distress will prevent them from learning and gaining the best from the setting.
- We reserve the right not to accept a child into the setting or to adapt the hours at short notice, if the child finds it distressing to be left and is upsetting his/her peer group. This is especially the case with very young children and during sleep time.
- Within the first six weeks of starting, we will make a first observation of where the child is on the EYFS tracker, unless this needs to be delayed for the child to fully settle.
The progress check at age two
The key person carries out the progress check at age two in accordance with any local procedures that are in place and referring to the guidance A Know How Guide: The EYFS progress check at age two.
The progress check aims to review the child’s development and ensures that parents have a clear picture of their child’s development.
Within the progress check, the key person will note areas where the child is progressing well and identify areas where progress is less than expected.
The progress check will describe the actions that will be taken by us to address any developmental concerns (including working with other professionals where appropriate) as agreed with the parent(s).
The key person will plan activities to meet the child’s needs within the setting and will support parents to understand the child’s needs in order to enhance their development at home.