Meeting Needs...

“There is colour in every child – step in and join our rainbow”

Our underlying ethos is everyone is equal and valued and all needs will be met by working in partnership. A happy and safe child having fun will experience a high quality of learning and not even realise they are learning.

Adult: I am worried my child may need extra help. How can you help me?

Stepping Stones: We will meet up, share a ‘getting to know you’ form and all relevant information during a free settling-in play session and we will make a plan of action together. We can organise a pre-preschool entry plan meeting if there are already other professionals involved. Home visits are also available if required.

Child: I want to play with everything but I’m not sure how. Can you help me?

Stepping Stones: You will have a special friend at playgroup called a keyperson who will get to know you, your interests, likes and dislikes. They will help you make friends and get the most out of playgroup, modelling play, social and communication skills. If you are scared or unsure, they will be there to help you.

Adult: How do you identify what my child’s needs are and what support will you then give my child to meet their needs?

Stepping Stones: We have a highly trained team of staff who will help meet your child’s needs. Their keyperson will share all information with our SENCO and other staff members. Our SENCO, you and your child’s keyperson will design a support plan specifically targeting your child’s personal needs. These targets will be explored by your keyperson every session that your child attends and will be reviewed every half term to ensure they are extended and developed as your child’s learning progresses. These targets will be shared and often set together with you and your child so that we have a shared approach and continuity in meeting your child’s needs. Staff training is on-going and includes B Ed Hons Degree, Inclusion Development Programme, Severe Social Communication including Autism Spectrum Conditions and Developing Happy & Confident Children. We also offer sessional speech and language workshops and Attention Autism Programme workshops. Parents and staff also have attended joint sensory training to develop continuity for the child between home and setting.

Child: I’m scared and I can’t explain why. Can you help me?

Stepping Stones: Our setting and staff have been awarded several certificates including ‘A Totally Enabling Environment’, ‘Excellent Listening Strategy’, ‘outstanding’ judgment from Ofsted and ‘Excellence in CPD’. This means that we are highly trained to help you communicate and listen to your needs even though you might find this tricky. We use Inclusive Communication strategies throughout the day (all staff Inclusive Communication module 1 trained plus one staff member trained to level 2), various S&L activities including daily workshops matching individual needs following S&L therapist’s care-plans etc. Your keyperson and SENCO will work with you, your parents/carers and outside agencies to find the best way to help you.

Adult: I feel my child’s needs are quite challenging. What if your setting doesn’t know what to do?

Stepping Stones: We work very closely with all outside agencies according to individual needs. Initially, with your consent, we will ask for advice from our Area Senco and make a referral to the Integrated Therapy Service stating clearly what your child’s needs are. It may be necessary to work with multi-agencies and follow several different care-plans and occasionally we try to hold multi-agency meetings so that professionals involved can work together to aid your child’s development and make it easier for the family. These meetings could include a pre-entry meeting, an initial activities programme meeting and continual reviews. We use their services and expertise to support and enhance the provision we offer. This also includes any transitions such as moving onto primary school, whereby similar collaborative meetings will also be held for all involved.

Child: I am in a wheelchair and I’m visually impaired.

Stepping Stones: We aim to make our setting a totally inclusive environment. Doorways are wide enough for wheelchair access and we have one big room all on the same level. Ramps are provided where necessary. We use bright borders and visual strategies as needed to highlight obstacles. Lots of shared communication will help us design a specific action plan to include the environment, communication and social needs, physical needs and emotional needs.

Adult: I want my child to have fun and get the most learning out of this development age as possible.

Stepping Stones: Our setting has adopted a process called Big Book Planning which listens to every child and uses their ideas to develop adult-led and child-initiated ideas, each activity explores all areas of learning, matching targets to each child’s individual needs. These are observed and recorded by their keyperson in their personal pathways which are readily available to child and parent/carer and shared regularly. A daily activity board lets you know what we have been doing at playgroup and weekly suggestions of ideas to try at home are posted on our Facebook page. These link to and extend learning opportunities which have been explored at playgroup. These strategies together provide lots of ownership for our children to develop their own learning experiences, as well as being guided and supported by our professional team, exploring sustained shared thinking activities.