Stramongate Nursery is a small setting on the site of a primary school in Kendal, Cumbria, providing for children who are three to four years old.
When a number of children joined with additional emotional needs, often using force as a means to communicate, it meant that 20 per cent of the nursery's children presented as very vulnerable, and were either receiving social care support or were close to this level.
Stramongate took a reflective and holistic look at its practice and came up with a well-being project focusing on certain aspects.
The Ferre Laevers Well-Being Scales were added to monthly observation sheets, and every child's well-being is discussed and scaled each half term, so that the focus is on children's emotional capability to be secure, settled and ready to learn before their progress within the EYFS is considered.
Rosie the empathy doll joined the setting two mornings a week, giving a medium to discuss children's feelings and needs in a non-invasive way.
The Smile 4 Life and WOW initiatives were signed up to in order to support children's physical well-being, through improving diets and dental health, and supporting families who had low levels of physical exercise.
Children have been encouraged to consider the needs of others through taking part in the Christmas Shoebox appeal and Children in Need, and with a Kindness Tree. Three guinea pigs are cared for by the children.
Specific behaviour strategies were developed for individual children in consultation with their families. Staff completed level one in Sign-a-long.
Outcomes have significantly improved for vulnerable children and their families; staff have benefited through improved reflective practice; and the primary school has gained greatly from the knowledge the nursery has about children moving on.
An Ofsted inspector told the nursery, 'You could not possibly do more to support the emotional well-being of your children.'
ENCo Handbook, Cambridgeshire County Council
Cambridgeshire's Equalities Named Co-ordinator Handbook is provided free of charge to all settings in the authority and is part of an initiative that is a specific stage in working towards a fully comprehensive inclusive early years service. The handbook is supported by two days of ENCo training, which elaborates on aspects covered, with opportunities for discussion, questioning and clarifying. This has raised understanding and increased confidence, with 114 ENCos attending at least one day in 2013-14. The initiative is said to be unique in its comprehensive and structured approach to supporting the work of ENCos at early years settings.
Booktrust Stories tour
Elvetham Heath SENCo team,
Open to services or projects that promote equality of opportunity and the best outcomes for children, regardless of ethnic origins, special needs, background or disadvantage.
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