Charters Ancaster nursery is housed in a purpose-built, attractive building, with a large outside play area, with decked verandahs for additional outside learning in all weathers, set within beautiful landscaped grounds which include a fenced pond, an astroturf pitch, a woodland area and a large Hall. The whole of the grounds and the nursery are accessible, with a ramp to the nursery entrance and rooms all on one level.
How does the nursery know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
At Charters Ancaster Nursery we are constantly interacting with and observing the children in our care so we soon become aware if a child is not making the usual progress for their age. We keep written observations and do continuous assessments regularly to ensure each child is progressing in all areas of learning.
Every child is encouraged to achieve their ‘next steps’ but if there seems to be a delay we work with our SENCO and the parents or carers to put simple strategies in place at the appropriate level and these may take the form of even smaller steps in order that the child can make progress.
If parents have any concerns about their child we make time to ensure we can hear their concerns and work with them to put appropriate strategies in place. As well as before and after sessions, parents can meet staff at Parents’ Evenings twice a year and are regularly updated on their child’s progress through the electronic Tapestry system.
Parents are encouraged to continue activities at home and to inform staff of successes and difficulties using a ‘Wow sheet’, and a ‘Next Steps’ home learning page.
How will the Early Years setting support my child?
Your child will be assigned a ‘Key Worker’ (one of the practitioners in the room), who will have particular responsibility for supporting your child’s well-being and progress. They will compile a folder of observations and assessments and get to know your child very well. They will liaise with you and share your child’s successes and difficulties along the way and can be your first point of call if you have any concerns.
The child’s Key Worker will work closely with the SENCO and parents, working as a team to design activities to support ‘small steps‘ towards an agreed goal. These ‘small steps’ will be worked on with the child in a playful and fun way and can be continued at home.
If all the team feel that more advice is needed on how to appropriately support the child then the child will be referred to other professionals or agencies, for example speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, behaviour specialists. This referral will only be made after consultation with the parents/carers and with their full agreement.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
Charters Nursery is split into three rooms, according to the children’s age. The rooms are set up so that the children can select activities which match their interests and level of development. The children make progress in their Personal, Social and Emotional needs while playing and learning with friends of a similar age.
Teaching and Learning:
The guiding principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) are:
- A Unique Child– every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self assured.
- Positive Relationships– children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/ or a key person.
- Enabling Environments– the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.
- Learning and Development– children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and interconnected.
The curriculum is made up of 3 Prime Areas and 4 Specific Areas of learning. All areas are important and inter-connected and centre on the individual needs of each Unique Child.
The 3 Prime Areas – are fundamental, work together, and are move through to support development in all other areas.
- Communication and Language – Listening and attention, Understanding, Speaking
- Physical Development – Moving and Handling, Health and Self Care
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Making Relationships, Self Confidence and Self Awareness, Managing feelings and Behaviour
The 4 Specific Areas – include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.
- Literacy – Reading and Writing
- Mathematics – Numbers, Shape, Space and Measure
- Understanding the World – People and Communities, The World, Technology
- Expressive arts and design – Exploring and using media and materials, Being imaginative
Our experienced practitioners develop their language skills while interacting through stories, outdoor and sensory activities, creative activities and mathematical puzzles and games. They learn about the ‘outside world‘ through story and non-fiction books, special interest topics, visits and IT.
They will progress through their ‘next steps‘, sometimes on an individual basis, sometimes in small groups of children at a similar level, and sometimes as a class.
For children who need extra support with particular needs a ‘Setting-Based Support Plan’ is put in place as an extra check to support and monitor their progress.
How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me support my child’s learning?
Information is displayed weekly about the activities that are taking place in the setting that week, while approximately every 6 weeks the Key Worker will share with you your child’s ‘next steps’ and give suggestions about how you can continue to support them at home.
We follow the Development Matters guidelines to plan suitable activities for your child. Photographs and notes are recorded in your child’s Learning Journey folder and these will be available to view regularly or on request.
We also inform parents and carers in a variety of ways including Information Notice boards, homework sheets, and “next step” sheets. Parents are encouraged to use ‘Wow’ sheets to help us document children’s achievements away from the setting.
If your child is assessed as having SEND (Special Education Needs or Disability), the SENCO (with other professionals if necessary), and with input from yourself and the Key Worker will put together a ‘Setting-Based Support Plan’ to give focus and structure to the goals and strategies planned for your child . These will direct the activities planned to support the ‘small steps‘ towards achieving the set goal and are reviewed and tracked regularly by members of staff working within the room.
What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?
Every child’s well -being is the priority at Charters Ancaster Nursery. We get to know and understand each child and can anticipate their needs and worries. The staff are experienced and trained to create a nurturing and kind environment.
Any challenging behaviour is managed and the causes understood, and the child is offered different ways of expressing themselves and interacting with their peers. A child with challenging behaviours may be assigned an Individual Needs Assistant so that they are able to access and contribute in small groups or within the whole class safely and positively.
Systems are in place to enable medication to be given appropriately to a child attending the setting, with rigorous procedures in place to ensure safety.
The Nursery works closely with Charters Ancaster School to operate a common Safeguarding and Child Protection process, with parallel systems for risk assessment, guidance for all adults working with children, and Staff Code of Conduct, as well as sharing an ethos of putting the individual child’s welfare at the heart of everything we do.
Eleven staff members in the Nursery are First Aid trained.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting?
We have strong links with the local Children’s Centre where support and advice are available for practitioners and parents. We have worked successfully with the Hastings and Rother Speech and Language team and also the Local Early Years Support Team on many occasions.
We have a trained SENCO (Special Education Needs Co-ordinator) working in the setting, ensuring the agreed strategies are in place and that the children are all making good progress. We also have many staff who have had experience of supporting Special Needs children successfully and who understand the challenges they may face. Symbols are used in all rooms and timelines to help children understand what is happening throughout the day, and there are staff trained in Makaton signing.
What training have the staff supporting children with SEND had?
Most staff have received basic Makaton training to assist children who have difficulties communicating their needs, and at least one member of staff within each room has attended Special Educational Needs training.
Staff liaise regularly with professionals from the County Early Years services and receive ongoing support from them enabling us to support individual children appropriately.
The Early Years Teacher is a Dyslexia-trained teacher.
How will my child be included in activities outside the setting including trips?
All outings are chosen carefully to ensure that they will be appropriate for all the families and groups of children attending the setting. Each outing is risk assessed to the needs of the individuals in the group, and support is put in to enable each child to enjoy the activity or trip safely.
How accessible is the setting environment?
The Nursery is easily wheelchair-accessible with a wide ramp at the entrance and lots of space in the classrooms and toilets. The garden and playing field are flat and even the woods are easily accessed in the Summer. There is an area of Astroturf and a hall for wetter days or for alternative activities.
There is a Disabled toilet.
How will the setting prepare and support my child to join the setting, transfer to a new setting or the next stage of education?
Your child will be invited to come to ‘settling in sessions’ for the room in which they will start at Nursery, although some maybe short, each one helps to prepare your child to stay on their own, these sessions are arranged to settle the child into the setting in a way which suits them.
Parents/carers will be given a leaflet showing pictures of the room and the practitioners who work there. Photo cards can also be arranged for you to share with your child so that they become familiar with the setting.
We request that children attend at least two sessions a week as a minimum to enable them to get used to the setting and also so that staff can get to know them quickly and build positive relationships.
After your child has attended nursery for a while and when your child is ready, they may move to the older rooms. Before this happens they will be able to visit the new classroom a few times to get used to the new staff and setting. We will send similar booklets home as those above so that you will also know the faces and names of the Key Workers and staff working within there and be more familiar with their new room.
When children are ready to move on to school, their Reception teacher will visit the Nursery and children will be invited into the school of choice for transition sessions. Some children may move to the Prep school attached to the Nursery in which case they will have had interaction with the school children already in various ways and will have been able to visit the Reception classroom and meet the staff in a relaxed, enjoyable environment during weekly planned transition sessions.
How are the setting’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
Each Nursery room has a selection of activities and resources chosen with the suitability in mind of the children’s ages and abilities. Our SENCO applies for specific grants and funding where possible to resource extra staff or equipment for children who may require extra support. This is put into action when the need has been highlighted and the correct course of action is agreed with the parents/ carers and the team.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
This decision is made with the parents or carers support and with advice from the SENCO and, if appropriate, outside agencies. We cannot know the needs of the child as well as you do, so the support that is put in place will reflect your views as well as those of any outside professionals involved and also will include what we have observed and know about the child. We will make time to work together on this decision and will monitor and adjust as move forward.
How are parents involved in the setting? How can I be involved?
There are many occasions when parents/ carers can be involved. In October we have a ‘Parents’ Social Evening’ when you can come to meet the staff and talk particularly to your child’s Key Worker, but also meet other parents and view the setting. Learning Journeys are available to you also.
Another Parents’ Evening is held in the Summer term when you can discuss more fully your child’s progress and raise any concerns. However as mentioned above you can also meet with staff at the end of any session or if you wish for a longer consultation you will always be welcome to make an appointment.
Once a year we send out a questionnaire that can be filled in anonymously, enabling you to tell us what you feel about the setting as a whole. We read these carefully and always take action to remedy any complaints or suggestions.
Parents/carers are invited to join in the Charters Ancaster Friends association (CAF) which hold fund-raising events through the year including a Christmas and Easter Fair and a Summer Fete.
In November families are invited to the school /nursery ‘Bonfire Night’ celebrations and in December parents/carers are invited to get in the Christmas spirit with a Christmas Sing- song in St. Stephens Church.
In the Summer term ‘the leavers’ and their parents are invited to a fun Sports Day, and each nursery class takes part in our Nursery Summer concerts.
Who can I contact for further information?
If you are thinking about starting your child at Nursery and you would like to visit us to find out more please ring the school office and ask to speak to the Nursery Manager. You can then make an appointment to view the Nursery and find out how we can support your child. If you wish we can arrange for the SENCO Mrs Louise Pope to be present as well should you want to discuss any concerns regarding your child’s development.
Parents who already attend the Nursery should discuss any concerns with their child’s Key Worker or Room Leader initially. They can discuss any issues you may have and then invite the SENCO to become involved if you both feel it is necessary. Finally if you have any concerns at all the Nursery Manager will be happy to help. In her absence, the Headteacher of the school can be contacted for an appointment.
Miss Susannah Crump- Nursery Manager
Charters Ancaster Nursery: 01424 216670