As a setting we have named special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) Natasha Vise and a deputy Sue Jackson. These staff attend training, meetings and forums to keep their knowledge up to date. They then cascade this information to the rest of the staff team.
Our setting is on one level in a bright spacious hall where we have access to a fully enclosed outside area. The hall has an accessible toilet in the main lobby area. Although we have double doors leading into the hall we only have a single door leading out to the garden area which is covered with AstroTurf.
We start making relationships with our families the moment an enquiry is made and hope that positive relationships will become the norm. To prepare your child to come to playschool we offer a home visit where we can come and talk to the family in an environment where the child feels happy and secure. Then we offer visits into the setting for both the child and family to start to understand routines and get to know other children and staff. Settling plans will be devised on an individual basis and some will take longer than others. We give each family a ‘new starter information pack’ and pictures of the hall showing the layout.
During the initial contact of enquiring about a place it is always better for us to have as much information about your child as possible. If there is a known diagnosis or concern, we would prefer to know about it at this stage. Before accepting a child with additional needs we must give thought to make sure that we are fully able to meet their individual needs within the limitations of our setting. We must be positive that we can give each child the best start to their early education as we possibly can. We may be able to support children with specialised equipment, although we cannot make structural changes to the building.
If a child comes to us with an ongoing medical need it is likely we would need to complete a care plan with the family before the child started with us. We have policies and procedures in place to do with the giving of medication and personal care and these will be shared with the family. We will work with any organisations who have dealings with your child and the family such as the Child Development Centre (CDC), health visitors, child psychologists, sensory support, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists etc.
Families are encouraged to speak to their child’s key person/buddy or a supervisor with any queries or concerns they may have regarding their child’s learning and development. Every child is allocated a main key person and a buddy, these are primarily the staff who will forge positive relationships with the child and their family. They will be responsible for making observations and will use these to assess and then plan for the individual child. The key person will be responsible for monitoring progress and completing termly overviews relating the to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which will show where a child is currently at. If a child is not where it is thought they developmentally should be discussions will initially be held between the key person, management and the SENCO. These concerns will then be raised in a sympathetic manner with the family and a decision will be made as to what the next step to take would be. Permission will always be sought to be able to seek outside assistance. Initially it is likely that we would contact a West Sussex Department ‘Targeted Support for Settings’ (TSS). We would seek advice and if necessary make a referral for someone to come and observe the child and offer further advice.
We will do our upmost to make sure that all children can access the curriculum putting into place what we can where we can. Before taking children out on visits and walks we would carry out a risk assessment and this would be discussed with families first.
We involve all our parents at all times and understand that they have the best and most knowledge about their child. We keep our families updated by sending our weekly update emails (paper copies also available). We have termly Friends of Church Lane Nursery meetings where parents can get together and we talk about what has been going on and what is coming up etc. We have a website and a Facebook page where you can also keep up to date with what was going on. We are in the process of offering families the opportunity to take part in Beach and/or Forest school in small groups.
Some children may have a play plan – if they go on to have and Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) they will then have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) as well as their termly overview. These will include targets to be working towards that have been agreed by the different agencies as well as the family. Every child with additional needs will have a one-page profile to inform staff what they can do, likes, targets and medications (if applicable). All children have home/playschool diaries so that everyone can be kept up to date of what is happening and how the child has been etc.
There may be times that we can apply for additional funding to go towards a child having a one to one assistance. This might be for health and safety reasons or it might be for an educational reason.
Most staff are Makaton trained (January 2016), those who did not attend have information cascaded by other staff members. All staff use Makaton to support speech throughout every session. Training on supporting children with Autism will be attended by all staff (February 2016)
When it is time for your child to transition to school we put a plan into place almost as soon as schools have been confirmed. We initiate meetings and visits and will organise a transition meeting between playschool, school and family members. We welcome teachers/teaching assistants to visit us and see the children in our setting. It is our aim that children will feel at ease as possible when the time comes.
For further information or to discuss any queries you may have as to whether we are the right setting for your child please contact us and either ask to speak to the manager Tracy Vise or the SENCO Natasha Vise/Sue Jackson.
Updated January 2016