Key Person

4.1 The role of the key person and settling-in

Policy statement

At Little Sandhurst Nursery Group 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 nursery is 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.

Procedures

  • We allocate a key worker before the child starts.
  • A home visit is offered to the parent and child.  This is purely optional but highly recommended as there are great benefits to the child in meeting their key worker in the child’s own environment.
  • Home visits are under taken by two members of staff, one of which will be the key worker or the manager.  The other should be the key buddy.
  • During the home visit, whilst in the child’s own environment, the key worker will undertake several play based activities with the child to gain a baseline assessment of the child’s abilities.  This will inform the key workers initial planning for the child’s learning.
  • The key worker is responsible for the induction of the family and for settling the child into our setting. The key worker offers unconditional regard for the child and is non-judgemental.
  • The key worker works with the parents to plan and deliver a personalised plan for the child’s well-being, care and learning.
  • The key worker acts as the key contact for the parents and has links with other carers involved with the child, such as a childminder or second setting, and co-ordinates the sharing of appropriate information about the child’s development with those carers.
  • The key worker 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 worker encourages positive relationships between children in her/his key group, spending time with them as a group each day.
  • We provide a back-up key buddy so the child and the parents have a key contact in the absence of the child’s key worker.
  • The key worker and key buddy work in close harmony as a key group.
  • We promote the role of the key worker as the child’s primary carer in our setting, and as the basis for establishing relationships with other staff and children.

Settling-in

  • 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 prospectus and policies), displays about activities available within the setting, information days and evenings and individual meetings with parents.
  • During the half-term before a child is enrolled, we provide opportunities for the child and his/her parents to visit the setting.
  • We allocate a key worker to each child and his/her family before she/he starts to attend; the key worker welcomes and looks after the child and his/her parents at the child’s first session and during the settling-in process.
  • We will offer a home visit by the person who will be the child’s key worker, to ensure all relevant information about the child can be made known.
  • We use pre-start visits and the first session at which a child attends to explain and complete, with his/her parents, the child’s registration records.
  • 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.
  • We have an expectation that the parent, carer or close relative, will stay for as much of the session as is appropriate for the child during the first week, gradually taking time away from their child, increasing this as and when the child is able to cope.
  • We expect that the parent will discuss this with their key worker and be guided by them as to what is best for the child.
  • 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.
  • We judge a child to be settled when they have formed a relationship with their key person; for example, the child looks for the key person when he/she arrives, goes to them for comfort, and seems pleased to be with them. The child is also familiar with where things are and is pleased to see other children and participate in activities.
  • 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 rapidly are not ready to be left. We expect that the parent will honour the commitment to be available to stay for at least the first week, or possibly longer, until their child can stay happily without them.
  • We do not believe that leaving a child to cry will help them to settle any quicker. We believe that a child’s distress will prevent them from learning and gaining the best from the setting.
  • 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, we discuss and work with the child’s parents to begin to create their child’s record of achievement.

The progress check at age two

  • The key person carries out the progress check at age two in accordance with any local procedures that are in place and referring to the guidance A Know How Guide: The EYFS progress check at age two.
  • The progress check aims to review the child’s development and ensures that parents have a clear picture of their child’s development.
  • Within the progress check, the key person will note areas where the child is progressing well and identify areas where progress is less than expected.
  • The progress check will describe the actions that will be taken by the setting to address any developmental concerns (including working with other professionals where appropriate) as agreed with the parent(s).
  • The key person will plan activities to meet the child’s needs within the setting and will support parents to understand the child’s needs in order to enhance their development at home.

Lone Worker Policy
Policy Statement:
● The manager has a responsibilty to ensure the safety of the staff at all times.
● No member of staff will be expected to attend a home visit if they do not feel
comfortable to do so.
Procedure:
● The home visit will be carried out by the child’s key worker and one other member
of staff where possible. If it is not possible for two members of staff to attend, a risk
assessment conversation will take place between the manager and the key worker
to decide if the visit will go ahead. The final decision rests with the key worker. This
discussion and outcome must be recorded.
● All home visits will be booked into the nursery diary before they take place. The
family name and address must be left with the manager.
● When making a home visit staff should wear nursery uniform and carry formal ID.
● The staff member should leave the following information with the manager before
they start any visit/s:
1. The family name and address.
2. The time of the appointment.
3. Their car registration number.
4. Their mobile phone number.
● Staff members are to adhere to the following advice:
1. Do not enter a house if you are suspicious on arrival.
2. If on entry to the house anything gives you cause for concern, leave and make
other arrangements.
3. Ask for pets to be put in another room if they make you uncomfortable.
4. Park your car off the driveway and facing the correct direction for the traffic.
● It is each staff members responsibilty to ensure that
1. They carry a working/charged mobile phone with them to all home visits.
2. They report any problems encountered whilst carrying out a home visit.
3. If a visit takes longer than planned, they phone the manager to give revised details.
4. That they follow these procedures.
5. They are accountable for their own actions.

Home Visit Policy
Policy statement:
● No child is excluded from participating in our setting, for any reason. We work in
partnership with parents to ensure an inclusive holistic learning environment is
provided equally to each and every individual child and their families.
● We complete a home visit to assist in the transition of care for both, parents/ carers
as well as the children. A home visit provides the opportunity for the children and
their parents/carers to meet with staff and the child’s named allocated key person,
in the privacy of their own home, ensuring confidentiality is maintained in their own
familiar and comfortable surroundings.
● Home visits allow the parents to be involved in their child’s learning and
developmental progress from the early stages of the attendance at the nursery.
● The individual needs of the child can be established through discussion, allowing
appropriate activities and facilities to be sourced if necessary, to support the needs
of the child.
Procedure:
● Where practical two members of staff carry out each home visit, one being the
child’s named key worker. If only one member of staff I available, it is the decision
of the key worker in consultation with the manager if the visit should go ahead or be
re-scheduled.
● A home visit is arranged with the parents at a convenient time for them. Ideally the
visit would take place after the parent and child have visited the setting and before
the child starts at the nursery. However, if this is not possible then the visit should
take place as soon as possible after the child starts nursery.
● If the arranged time proves to be inconvenient to the parent then they should call
the nursery as soon as possible to cancel and re-arrange the visit. Likewise, if the
nursery has need to cancel the visit we will call the parent as soon as possible to
inform them and re-arrange the visit.
● A home visit cancelled by the parent will only be re-scheduled twice. After this the
nursery will assume that the parent no longer wishes to have a home visit unless
the parent informs us otherwise.
● During the home visit the staff are able to discuss with the parents any outstanding
documentation which may need to be completed. It is an opportunity for the key
worker to meet with the child and their parents/carers on a more intimate level,
establishing what activities they like and dislike to make their transition to nursery
as comfortable as possible.
● Staff will wear their uniform and carry identification for all home visits.
● Staff are to carry a mobile phone for emergency use only on all home visits.
● A record of all home visits will be kept in the nursery diary.
● In the event of incident or confrontation, staff must complete an incident form and
inform the manager immediately.