The role of the Key person and settling-in
We want children to feel safe, stimulated and happy in the preschool 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 preschool.
We aim to make the preschool a welcome place where children settle quickly and easily because consideration has been given to their needs. We believe they settle best when they have a key person to relate to, who knows them and their parents/carers well, and who can meet their individual needs.
The key person is set out in the Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Each setting must offer a key person for each child.
- We allocate a key person to each child and his/her family, before she/he starts to attend; the key person welcomes and looks after the child and his/her parents at the child’s first session.
- We use pre-start visits, at which a child and parent attends to experience the preschool session and provide them with the child’s registration forms.
- We offer a home visit by the person who will be the child’s key person, to ensure all relevant information about the child can be made known and gather all registration and other information in preparation for their start.
- 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.
- The key person encourages positive relationships with the children in their key group spending time with them every day.
- Before a child starts to attend the preschool, we use a variety of ways to provide his/her parents with information. These include written information (including our welcome pack and policies), displays about preschool activities, and individual meetings with parents at least once a term.
- During the half-term before a child is enrolled, we provide opportunities for the child and his/her parents to visit the preschool.
- When a child starts to attend, we work with his/her parents to decide on the best way to help the child to settle into the preschool.
- Within the first six weeks of a child starting we discuss with the parents their child’s needs and progress.
- We make clear to families from the outset that they will be supported in the preschool for as long as it takes to settle their child, and reassure parents whose children seem to be taking a long time to settle into preschool. These may include younger children or those who have not previously spent time away from home.
- We expect a parent/carer or close relative to stay with a child who is distressed, and we reserve the right not to accept a child without them if distressed.
- We introduce new families into the group on a staggered basis, for example two new children a day for a week rather than 10 new children all at once.
- When parents leave, we ask them to say goodbye to their child and explain that they will be coming back, and when. Children cannot play or learn successfully if they are anxious or unhappy. Our settling in procedures aim to help parents to help their children feel comfortable in the preschool, to benefit from what it has to offer, and to be confident that their parents will return at the end of the session.
- We judge a child to be settled when they have formed a relationship with their key person, e.g. look for them on arrival, go to them for comfort, are pleased to be with them and when they become familiar with where things are, are pleased to see other children and participate in activities.
This policy was reviewed August 2019
Signed on behalf of the Preschool Anne Ridgway and Heather Gardner