At Happy Bunnies, all children receive a broad curriculum. Each child is encouraged to progress at their own pace. Special needs nursery care requires extra consideration. In case this affects you, I want to outline in this special report how we at Happy Bunnies support you and your child.
We’ve had the chance to help children with varying abilities over the years. At Happy Bunnies, we encourage all children to develop their knowledge and understanding alongside their peers – regardless of their individual needs. Happy Bunnies in Gillingham is a nursery committed to the inclusion of all children.
What Constitutes Special Needs?
Our nursery staff follow the guidelines of the government’s Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. Children have special needs if they have a learning difficulty, defined by the code as:
1)Having significantly greater difficulty than the majority of children of the same age.
2) Having a disability preventing or hindering them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools within the local education authority
3) Are under compulsory school age and fall within the definition of (1) and (2) above or would do so if Special Educational Needs Provision was not made for them.
How We Help
As part of each child’s programme at Happy Bunnies, we regularly record their development and learning. Happy Bunnies staff monitor each child’s development and record this in their Learning Journal and My Unique Story document. My Unique Story is a summative assessment of each child’s development once every two to three months at Happy Bunnies. We do this for all children, of all abilities.
It’s often hard to understand the views and motivations of very young children. We encourage each child to contribute, through individual programmes to support their learning. We encourage the children to express feelings, and identify their own personal preferences and interests. This dialogue with the children enriches the programme, validating it and making it more relevant to that child. It helps us relay the child’s input back to you as parents and guardians, so we can work in partnership together in the child’s individual interests.
Through this regular process, our staff identify any child experiencing difficulties or who may have special needs in specific areas. We ensure these children’s needs are met.
In addition, our staff will collect a full portfolio for any child presented to the nursery as already having identified special needs, supporting their inclusion in the nursery. This information is collected directly from parents and guardians and from any other previous setting the child may have attended. This forms the basis for the child’s Individual Educational Plan. This plan is formed through dialogue with Medway Council advisory teachers and, depending on the child’s individual special needs, specialists such as speech therapists or sensory therapists, who help us form the programme.
The information is shared regularly with parents, ensuring an accurate assessment of the child’s abilities and needs is kept up to date.
In this way, a child experiencing difficulties in specific areas is encouraged directly by staff, carers and specialists. The information is kept current and shared so that the parents are able to receive Special Educational Provision.
Very often, parents are unaware of the child’s special needs, so our staff are trained too in how to support the parents. We believe the cornerstone of our relationship with you is full and accurate information. We work with you compassionately – and disclose everything fully – so you are able to make the best choices for your family and your child.
At all stages of Special Needs Nursery Provision, staff must maximise opportunities for parental involvement, ensuring that parents are encouraged to contribute their knowledge of their child’s development and learning, and help to set targets through Individual Education Plans.
SENCO: Your Special Education Needs Co-Ordinator
At Happy Bunnies Gillingham, we have appointed a single individual as your SENCO and, in case of their absence, a deputy SENCO – contact me as nursery manager to tell you who these individuals are.
The SENCO members of staff work alongside parents and guardians to assess the child’s strengths and plan future support. The SENCO ensures appropriate records are kept according to the Code of Practice. When a child is identified with Special Educational Needs, the SENCO works with colleague, parent and guardians to access and record the child’s needs and provide an Individual Education Plan providing future support.
They work closely with all staff, ensuring our systems are followed, reviewing the Happy Bunnies special needs policy, and making absolutely certain all plans and records are shared with you as parent and guardians. This single point of contact and responsibility ensures that our special needs policy is implemented. In some cases we are even able to access funding for one to one care that can be provided for several hours each week making sure your child receives relevant help and education they need.
Each child’s plan is continually reviewed through consultation with both the child and their parent or guardian. When a child’s progress is still considered slower than normal, the SENCO and staff, in consultation with the parents, are trained to implement Early Years Action Plus.
We seeking the advice of external support services when assessing the child, recording new IEPs and setting targets.
Getting Help and Advice
The important point to take away here is you’re not alone. We have experience and strong systems in place to help and assist you each step of your child’s development.
If you are affected in any way by any of these issues, or would just like some advice or further info, please do contact me, Magdalena MacLeod. As nursery manager, I’m always keen and happy to go through our approach with you in person.