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, 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 staff. We also want parents to have confidence in both their children’s well-being and their role as active partners with the setting.
We aim to make the 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 Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Each setting must offer a key person for each child.
The procedures set out a model for developing a key person approach that promotes effective and positive relationships for children who are in settings.
- We allocate a key person when a child starts nursery. This is based on which key person has formed a strong bond with the child.
- The key person offers unconditional regard for the child and is non-judgmental.
- The key person works with the parent to plan and deliver a personalised plan for the child’s well-being, care and learning and development.
- The key person acts as the key contact for the parents and has links with other carers involved with the child, such as a childminder, and co-ordinates the sharing of appropriate information about the child’s development with those carers.
- A key person is responsible for developmental records and for sharing information on a regular basis with the child’s parents to keep those records up to date, reflecting the full picture of the child in our setting and at home and involving parents and children in the upkeep of their learning journey.
- The key person encourages positive relationships between children in her/his base room, spending time with them as a group each day.
- We provide a ‘buddy’ key person so the child and the parents have a key contact in the absence of the child’s key person.
- We promote the role of the key person as the child’s primary carer in our setting, and as the basis for establishing relationships with other staff and children.
- Before a child starts to attend the setting, we use a variety of ways to provide his/her parents with information. These include written information (including our policies).
- During the time before a child is enrolled, we provide opportunities for the child and his/her parents to visit the setting for one-hour sessions.
- We introduce the child and parents to the staff in their base room during the settling-in process.
- We use settling-in sessions to explain and complete with his/her parents the ‘All About Me’ booklet is also shared with parents to help staff find out about the child’s interests and individual needs. This will become the first page in the child’s learning journey book.
- When a child starts to attend, we explain the process of settling-in with his/her parents and jointly decide on the best way to help the child to settle into the setting.
- Younger children will take longer to settle in, as will children who have not previously spent time away from home. Children who have had a period of absence may also need their parent to be on hand to re-settle them.
- When parents leave, we ask them to say goodbye to their child and explain that they will be coming back, and when.
- We recognise that some children will settle more readily than others but that some children who appear to settle are not ready to be left.
- We reserve the right not to accept a child into the setting without a parent or carer if the child finds it distressing to be left. This is especially the case with very young children.
- Within the first four to six weeks of starting at nursery key person will spend time bonding with the child and carrying out assessments, i.e. starting point assessments and child observations. This will help carers to understand his/her current stage of learning and development and their interests.
- New parents are offered the opportunity to complete an ‘All About Me’ book to stick photographs of people and interests personal to the child. Books are laminated and they are accessible for children in their base room to help children with settling in.