Settling in

‘You will want to meet some of the children and judge for yourself if they’re happy, thriving and settled’

At St Christopher’s Nursery, want children to feel safe and happy within our setting as well as feel secure and comfortable with all our staff. We also want you as parents to have confidence in both your child’s wellbeing and your role as an active partner within our setting. At St Christopher’s nursery, we aim to be flexible with our daily routine and as far as possible cater to individual eating and sleeping patterns (particularly for younger children).

Our aims

·         To make the setting a welcoming space for your child

·         To create a secure relationship for your child within our setting.

·         To make the setting a place where your child can settle in quickly and comfortably.

Our methods

Before you register your child, we will provide you with the opportunity to visit our Nursery with your child and meet all of the members working within the EYFS setting (including the reception team). We will allocate a Key-Person to your child who will welcome and look after them during their first sessions and continue providing them with support throughout the settling in process.

·         When your child begins their first session with us, we will explain the process of settling in with you and jointly decide on the best way to help your child settle into the nursery. We expect that you as the parent, carer or close relative, will stay for most of the settling in sessions during your child’s first week, gradually decreasing your time at the setting until your child is comfortable and well settled with us.

·         Younger children (toddlers) will take longer to settle, as will children who have not previously spent time away from home. Children who have had a period of absence for whatever reason may also need you to re-settle them.

·         When you leave your child, we ask that you say goodbye, fully explain to them that you will be coming back later, and let them know when you’ll be back. (Such as saying, ‘Mummy will be back after you eat lunch’.)

·         Within the first four to six weeks of starting we will discuss with you our initial observations of your child. A baseline assessment form will then be filled out by your child’s key person and be given to you to read at home, and a copy of it will be placed into your child’s learning journey. This will act as a means to help us adequately plan for the needs of your child.

·         We consider a child to be settled when they have formed a relationship with their Key-Person. Each child should also be familiar with where things are in their play room and be happy to participate in activities.

The Key person system

At St Christopher’s Nursery, we operate a Key Person/worker system. The key person is responsible for working with a small group of children providing the reassurance needed for each child to feel safe and cared for as well as building a relationship with parents/carers. The key person will help the toddler or child to become familiar with the setting and feel safe within it. They will also talk to parents/carers to make sure the needs of the child are being met appropriately, and the records of development and progress are shared with parent/carers and other professionals as necessary.

How the key person system works

Once your child begins nursery, a key person will be allocated to him/her, this person will be the named carer throughout the nursery day and the first point of contact for parents. The key person will record information regarding your child’s home routine, as well as specific information such as medication instructions.

Changes in routine at home can affect your child’s wellbeing so it is important that the key person forms not only a strong bond with the child but also with the child’s family so that the sharing of information between the two can be done successfully, leading to the best possible outcomes for your child.

Our key person system provides:

·         Assistance with the settling in process.

·         Building a strong attachment and getting to know your child.

·         Building a strong relationship with parents and families.

·         A key person time, in small groups or one to one time every day.

·         Close monitoring of your child’s progress in all areas of development.

·         Knowledge of each child’s needs when planning activities and curriculum.

A child’s key person

·         Will provide parents with information regarding the routines, daily timetables, and activities in the room.

·         Will assist both parent and child during the settling in period.

·         Will support the child in becoming familiar with the daily routine and the layout of the nursery.

·         Will be aware of circumstances at home that may affect changes in a child’s behaviour from time to time.

·         Will carry out observations on children in their groups and devise plans for future activities taking into account children’s needs and interests.

·         Will fill out a weekly dairy on what your child (for children under three years old) has been doing during their time in the nursery.

·         Will take care of your child’s personal needs i.e. nappy changing, toileting, whenever possible.

At St Christopher’s Nursery we use the following procedure to settle the children into nursery:

The settling in process takes a period of 2 weeks:

The first week 

We ask the child’s parent/carer to attend the nursery with their child for a few hours. This helps the child become familiar with the setting, the nursery routines, their key person and other nursery practitioners. We will discuss with you how to reduce your time within the setting, in order to encourage your child to make new relationships with the children and the staff.

The second week 

We ask the child’s parent/carer to bring the child into nursery but this time drop them off at the schools front door whereupon the key person will greet them both and take the child over to the learning environment. We ask that you explain to the child before coming to the nursery the process of being dropped off.

Some children may take longer to settle and become very upset upon parting from their parent/carer, if this is the case with your child, we ask that the child is still left with us so that he/she has an opportunity to form a bond with their key person and eventually fully settle.