1. How does the nursery know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
Within the nursery, ALL children are observed on a regular basis to ensure that we are aware of their learning and development needs. Any observations made are then used to identify if your child needs any additional support/help.
Each child within our nursery has a key person who takes on responsibility of regularly monitoring your child’s learning journey. Should any areas of concern be identified, your child’s key worker and the nursery teacher/manager will discuss with you how they intend to move forward. This can sometimes mean bringing in outside agencies or making a referral to an outside service for which your consent will be asked for. We have cared for many children with different special educational needs, such as English as an additional language, cerebral palsy, autism, behavioural problems, emotional difficulties and hearing impairment.
The nursery has worked hard over the years to build up good relationships with the local outside services, local schools and other nurseries to help support the needs of children.
We invite all families to parent evenings throughout the year, as well as encouraging new starting children to access home visits from their key worker. There is also the opportunity to visit the nursery on open days. Prior to starting the nursery, all families will be asked to complete an ‘All About Me’ book which will be used as a starting point for their child’s learning journey.
2. How will nursery staff support my child?
Hollie Martin is the nursery's Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo). The nursery staff are trained in safeguarding children, managing positive behaviour and paediatric first aid. All of our staff have their own children and most have worked in childcare for many years, offering a good skill level and high level of knowledge. The key worker system within the nursery allows key workers to spend time observing their children. Each key worker has one non contact time session per week where they will ensure that your children’s learning journeys are regularly monitored and your child’s development levels will be monitored and updated. Key workers are confident to make judgments on children’s abilities and at parents evening will offer suggestions to parents on how they can help there child’s learning at home. Each term the key worker completes sheets detailing different next steps for individual children in their groups; these next steps are then fed into the weekly planning. To follow on from the ‘All About Me’ booklet, completed when a child first starts the nursery, each term we will ask you to complete updated information on ‘Things my child likes to do’. This is a great opportunity for you to make us aware of any achievements that your child has made at home.
At parents evenings we send home questionnaires to ask you how you think your child is getting on and if you feel well informed about their learning. All results gathered are used to support the nursery’s development plans.
3. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
At our nursery, we recognise that every child is unique and will have their own style of learning. When a child joins our setting we will always take time to get to know them before making judgements about their ability. All children are monitored using the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. The SENCo will work together with key workers to draw up setting based support plans for those children who need additional support. Progress on setting based support plans will be reviewed termly and evidenced in your child’s learning journey. All plans will be shared with parents.
4. How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?
Our learning journeys contain all the information about a child’s observations and assessments, tracking sheets (this form is a guide of where a child ‘should be’ developing), the child’s creative work, along with a photos showing their progress. IEPs are also included in our learning journeys to show which areas of support a child needs. Your Childs key person will discuss these with you and inform you of next steps for your child and how you can support those steps at home.
27 month progress reviews are carried out in partnership with parents and your child’s Health Visitor. Once we have received the review from the Health Visitor we complete the Early Years section based upon your child’s learning in the nursery. At this point the key worker will monitor the three prime areas and the characteristics of effective learning to see how a child is progressing and set targets for them. Your child’s key person and the manager/teachers will then discuss the review with you at a convenient time and ask for your input before sending the completed check back to the Health Visitor. At our nursery, we actively encourage parents to be involved in supporting their child’s learning. We have an open door policy and parents are welcome to come in at any time. Your child’s key person will discuss with you how your child is doing and any progress made. Regular parent’s evenings are a great opportunity to view your child’s progress and share their learning journeys.
The nursery communicates regularly via email and this includes the school termly newsletter. Newsletters can be printed for parents without internet access.
5. What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?
Our nursery staff can administer medicines with parental consent as long as they have been prescribed by a doctor. A child needing any kind of one to one support can be supported by a suitable member of staff. Our nursery has a policy in place to support behaviour, special educational needs and disabilities and inclusion.
Every child has a voice and children are invited and supported to play, learn and develop with the help of our caring staff. The nursery staff are placed around the room in different areas so that children can be fully supported. There is always an adult led activity to support children with sounds and letters and small group work.
6. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the early years setting?
Our school has two staff members who have accessed SENCo training through East Sussex County Council. Hollie Martin is the named SENCo representative within the nursery, and has attended training events including SENCo induction and legislation. These sessions enable us to keep up to date with any new strategies or changes to legislation. We have two qualified teachers who work across the week. In addition, our manager is an EYFS professional who is about to go on maternity leave. All key workers are qualified to either NVQ level three, NNEB or equivalent and we also have a graduate leader. The majority of our staff have attended training in paediatric first aid and all have completed training in safeguarding children. Some of the nursery staff have had training in using Makaton and visual signs and symbols to support children.
We work hard to support all children. Where children have been identified as having a special educational need we have worked closely with the local early years teaching service, health visitors and children centre key workers to support them and their parents/carers.
7. What training have the staff supporting children with SEND had, or are having?
The nursery SENCo is fully qualified and has had many years’ experience working with children with additional needs. The SENCo has had training in basic makaton, autism awareness, positive behaviour management and updates their skills and knowledge regularly. Most other staff are trained in basic makaton, autism awareness and positive behaviour management. All staff receive specialist training to meet the individual needs of the children as appropriate.8. How will my child be included in activities outside the nursery including trips? Will he or she be able to access all of the activities and how will you assist him or her to do so? How do you involve parent carers in planning activities and trips?
All of our nursery outings are organised by the manager/teacher in conjunction with our nursery parents committee. Any outings are advertised through our termly newsletters and parents will receive a consent form to sign prior to any child being taken out of the nursery. On larger trips parents are asked to accompany their children and to take responsibility for them. On larger whole nursery trips we like children to be in a ratio of 1:1. For smaller trips walking to the park, visiting the school, or posting letters, risk assessments will be carried out and the management staff will decide in what ratio they will need to take the children out. During trips that involve walking we always ensure a ration of 1:2. Parents and carers are encouraged to attend if they able to. Some children, depending on their needs, will have a one to one support worker outside the nursery; this will be their key person.
9. How accessible is the nursery environment?
The nursery is on a flat level and completely wheelchair accessible from inside to outside. Children’s sinks and toilets are at low levels, and changing facilities are provided.
Nursery activities are set up both inside and outside on a daily basis to challenge the children at all levels of development.
Staff members are confident to support their key group and take their time to get to know them. Situated around the nursery room there are dual language signs and visual aids to support children whose first language might not be English. Our outside environment is spacious and our back garden has many resources and experiences to offer.
10. How will the staff prepare and support my child to join the nursery, or transfer to a new setting / school?
We carry out home visits to new starting children, and invite them and their families to attend an open day before they start to support them settling in to nursery. These visits provide an opportunity for parents to meet their child’s key person and create a bond with them. These visits and meetings give the children time to get to know the staff and the nursery prior to being left by their parents.
For children attending our reception, transitions are supported in a similar way. School teachers visit your child at the nursery and observe them at play. Nursery and reception staff work closely together and visits are made regularly. Each child will get the opportunity to visit the school and the nursery staff are happy to accompany them on these visits if parents are unable to. We use transition books for the schools in our local area. These are made up of photos taken from the local schools.
11. How are the nursery’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
For most children within the nursery any funding provided is used to support a one to one worker within the setting. If children need specialist equipment, funding will be used to purchase equipment for them.
12. How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
Your child’s key person will observe your child and those observations will be used to make a decision about whether your child will benefit from additional support. The key person will discuss this with the nursery’s SENCO and manager/teacher. Any child that is identified as needing extra support will have an setting based support Plan written for them. This plan will be discussed with parents and reviewed termly.
13. How are parents involved in the nursery? How can I be involved?
Parents and the key person work together on their child’s learning and development. Parents’ evenings are held termly, and information is shared between all parties. Parents and careers are regularly encouraged within the nursery as parent helpers or sharing expertise with children. Parents are encouraged to share their children’s achievements with us so that they can be celebrated within the nursery. We undertake regular observations on all the children using our online learning journey system called ‘2buildaprofile’. Each month parents receive observations of your child accessing the learning in the nursery. Parents can also send in their observations of the learning that their child has been doing at home.