Learning and development
Systems and strategies we have in place to identify children that may require additional support
At Stratton playgroup we employ a strong key person system which was highlighted in our latest Ofsted report. We offer a ‘new parents’ meeting in the September, prior to the child starting, this is a chance to meet the whole team and learn a little bit about the playgroup, in preparation for your child starting. It is also an opportunity for parents to ask any questions. We provide pre-placement visits for families to stay with their child while their registration forms are filled in. This is when the family will meet their child’s key person and together you will fill in an “all about me” form that enables the key person to gain a picture of your child, their interests, their family, their likes and dislikes etc. We would welcome any parents that may wish to stay with their child as they settle in, however long this may take. During your child’s settling in period a baseline assessment is made of your child’s development from here we continue to monitor development every term through assess, plan do review cycles. Small group activities are planned weekly based on the learning needs of the children and planned around the next steps of the children. All children have a learning journey completed by their key person that shows their achievement’s and progress, presented in photos, the child’s work and personal observations. These are regularly shared with parents. We complete two year checks for all two year olds in our setting. This is short written summery of your child’s development in the 3 prime areas of learning and is discussed at an informal meeting between your child’s key person and you as a parent. This enables us as practitioners to identify any developmental needs so additional support can be put in place. We use cohort tracking to help us to identify children’s individual needs. These systems enable us to identify where additional help may be required and our close partnership with parents and outside agencies mean we are able to work together to plan strategies and provide support for individuals. Anna is able to make referrals to necessary agencies and has experience of applying for addition funding to support individual children.
How we identify and support children's learning and development needs
At Stratton playgroup we maintain detailed observations while your child is enjoying a wide range of learning opportunities. These observations are used for individualised planning, specifically designed to support your child in taking the next steps in their learning and development. Letters and sounds activities are planned in each day and are targeted for the 3 – 4 year olds, as well as other small group and a whole group activities. Staff work closely with children that have I.E.P’s (individual education plans) to ensure learning is differentiated for their developmental needs. I.E.P’s are reviewed regularly and in partnership with parents. All of our staff have appropriate early years qualifications and access regular training to provide the highest quality care and education for the children attending our setting. Our staff have attended training to support learning needs such as ‘making sense’ (sensory processing training), behaviour training and SENCO. We work closely with outside professionals, and follow written targets from them which include speech and language therapists, Senior area SENCO’s, ASD workers, Health visitors, Portage workers, CDC teachers, Occupational therapists, physiotherapists and the community paediatric nurse. We use Makaton signs throughout the day and visual support as part of inclusive practise. These visuals include traffic lights, timetables and spot timers.
Links we have to other agencies
Stratton playgroup works closely with our local authority professionals and their locality inclusion teams. We have strong relationships with all the professional mentioned above. We always welcome anyone into the setting to offer advice and support to the children in our care. We signpost parents and carers to family information services (care and support in Cornwall) and children’s centres for support if they require.
How we support children transferring to school
We have strong links with our feeder primary school and liaise closely with any school that one of our children will be attending. We make weekly visit into our feeder school’s library throughout the year, familiarising the children with the school surroundings. We also attend story time with the reception class at school once a week during the summer term. Class teachers are welcomed into the setting and are able to meet the children and Cohorts of tracking are shared with the teachers. Social stories are shared with the children to explain routines at school and familiarise them with photos of their class teachers, teaching assistants, head teachers playtime supervisors and other staff. Extra transition meetings are organised for children with SEND to ensure all information is passed on accurately.
Specialist skills or training our staff have
Our team of staff at Stratton playgroup have a wide variety of skills and experience. Personal professional development is very important to us. Specialist training that we have includes SENCO training including attending regular SENCO network meetings, paediatric first aid, safeguarding, CAF training, behaviour management, language and communication training, Epi-pen training, pump feed training (gastrostomy tube feeding), visual aid training, Autism awareness, Autism champion, fire training and bereavement training.
Anna Tanner is our setting SENCO. Anna has many years’ experience working in early years; she is also experienced in working with children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Anna has previously worked as a personal assistant to adults with SEND and as a SEN teaching assistant in a primary school. Anna regularly attends local authority SEN network meetings to ensure she is up to date with the most recent legislation for your child's needs. Anna is 1 of 2 ‘Autism champions’ for locality 5 in Cornwall.
Support we offer regarding children's health and well-being
We have a designated Safeguarding lead which is our manger Kelly Swatton. Anna Tanner is the deputy safeguarding lead. Both have training and an excellent understanding of Children’s health and wellbeing. All staff are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities towards safeguarding children and know the course of action to take if they are concerned about the welfare of a child in our care. We have named members of staff that are responsible for behaviour management, SENCO, safeguarding and health and safety. Risk assessments are regularly carried out. We actively encourage the children to develop their independence and make children aware of the importance of good health and hygiene. Some of our systems to support this include; a tissue station with a mirror, bin and signs to promote hand washing. The children help to prepare their own snacks by cutting up fruit at the snack table and pouring their own drinks. Children are offered choices and encouraged to make their own decisions. Our toilet area has low level toilets and sensors on the taps to make hand washing easy for children. Small group games promote a healthy living ethos. Consideration is given to the different ages and developmental stages of the children in our care and quiet areas are provided for relaxation and a sensory dark den can easily be set up when required. Our staff are engaged with the early years inclusion service to support children’s needs. We have been involved in the early support process and attend TAC meetings for children. TAC meetings can be held at our setting as this often suits the family’s needs.
Ways we inform parents about how their child is being supported
Our key person system actively supports the well-being of all children in their personal, social and emotional development as every child’s care is tailored to meet their individual needs. Working in partnership with parents is paramount and our systems support this. Key person meetings are regularly offered and learning journeys are available to be looked at any time when requested. During these meetings and two year checks we will share your child’s achievements and next steps. Staff are available at the beginning and end of sessions for communication between parents and are always happy to talk by phone or e-mail about any concerns. More formal meetings can easily be set up. We have a parent’s notice board in our foyer with lots of information including information about our staff, planning, policies and local events. We also display photos of activities your child has been enjoying recently at playgroup. We have a ‘wow’ board to share the children’s achievements. Half termly newsletters are sent out to parents with relevant information and we send home a questionnaire annually as we value parent’s feedback. We value parents as partners and welcome parents to do a rota duty where they stay for a session and play an active role in the session by taking part in activities, helping to provide the children with their snack and tidy up time.
Our complaints policy
At Stratton playgroup we will give prompt and serious attention to any concerns about the running of our setting. We anticipate that most concerns will be resolved quickly by an informal approach. If this does not achieve the desired result we have a set of procedures for dealing with complaints. All of our policies and procedures are available in a parent’s file in the setting.
Alterations we have made to make our building accessible
Our building is reasonably new and we are fully accessible. Our setting complies withal legal requirements regarding accessibility. The entrance to our building is level and we have wide doorways into the building and to our outside area to accommodate wheelchairs. We have an accessible toilet with low level wash basins. We have visual support to label areas in the room. Our playroom is spacious and the areas inside easily accessible to all that use it.
Facilities we have for personal care
Our changing area is discreet and maintains the dignity of the children. We have separate staff/ accessible toilets and children’s toilets. We have potties for children that are toilet training. All staff are DBS checked and wear protective gloves and aprons when changing clothes and nappies. All personal care given to children is logged in a book which is kept securely in the office. We have fresh drinking water on offer at all times for the children to access independently. Some of our staff are trained to administer a tube feed.
Specialist resources we have
We have a sensory dark den with lights and sensory objects to explore. We have communication toys such as talking butterflies and talking tins. We have speech and language resources; for example toddler talk which we use for planning small group activities. We use a visual timetable alongside a spot timer so the children are well prepared to stop what they are playing and know what will be coming next. We work closely alongside outside professional agencies to ensure the children in our care have the correct equipment for their individual needs.
How we include all children in activities, such as trips
At Stratton playgroup we include all children in all of the activities that we offer. All activities/trips are risk assessed and adaptations made if necessary. Staff:child ratios are adhered to. We regularly visit our neighbouring school to access their library and use the woodland walk. We would use visual prompts as required with some children. Parents are always welcome to come along if they wish.
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