At Elmscot Day Nursery, the team prioritises inclusive practice on the basis of the understanding that each child learns and develops at their own pace and needs different levels of support for their physical, social and emotional growth.
The nursery aims to provide childcare services to a wide range of families, whether from multicultural backgrounds, with English as an additional language, or single parents who need a helping hand to go back to work or college.
Every child is carefully treated as an individual from the moment they attend their first settling-in session. Their developmental stages are carefully observed by their key worker during the first few weeks and an on-entry assessment is completed to form the basis for all future planning.
Activities for each child are planned on a weekly basis depending on their current interests, previous activity evaluations or gaps in their learning and development tracking. The team carefully considers key children’s individual needs at all times and adapts all activities to suit their abilities. All children are observed, supported and encouraged in everything they do. Based on robust tracking systems, practitioners are able to identify any areas of learning and development that may require additional support.
The setting SENDCO, Ami Mahon (highly commended for Nursery Practitioner of the Year), works to create individualised and targeted plans. She is also the speech and language champion of the entire Elmscot Group, working closely with all settings to support children’s communication and language development.
The nursery currently looks after five children with additional educational needs, and has developed strong relationships with external professionals such as speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and sensory support services to be able to fully support them.
The senior members of the team have all attended an accredited I CAN course and have disseminated their knowledge to their individual teams. Eighty-five per cent of Elmscot staff currently hold an NVQ Level 2 in equality and diversity, and the other 15 per cent are due to attend training.
The environment at Elmscot has been adapted to meet children’s needs, including adding braille, providing tactile displays for visually impaired children and carrying out room audits to ensure all areas are accessible.
When a child in the toddler room was due to have an operation that would mean a cast across the waist and down the leg leaving them immobile, Ami and the nursery team linked with appropriate agencies to secure funding for one-on-one support as well as liaising with agencies to ensure the equipment and environment were appropriate.
Another child at the nursery has complex needs including multiple cardiac defects, visual impairment and global developmental delay. He has a dedicated key person who works exclusively with him during sessions and works with the SENDCO and sensory support advisors to create a differentiated curriculum to ensure targets are tailored and relevant.
Jenna Holloway, nursery manager of Broussa Day Nursery within the Elmscot Group, says, ‘Being able to see all children included and thriving in the caring and nurturing environment of Elmscot is wonderful.’
She adds, ‘Children with special educational needs and disabilities are supported in such a way that their expected levels of development are exceeded and their confidence is astounding.’
‘Unique. Special. Me’, South Hills Nursery Group
Open to services or projects that promote equality of opportunity and the best outcomes for children, regardless of ethnic origin, special needs, background or disadvantage