Stepping Stones Local Offer
Stepping Stones Nursery is located on the Regis School campus in Bognor Regis and operates under the United Learning Academy. We are a day care setting opening from 7.30am to 6.00pm offering childcare from three months to preschool age.
We recently benefited from a capital grant, the nursery has expanded the availability of places for two and three year olds. We aim to provide a home from home environment that welcomes and includes all children and families ensuring children’s learning is both inspired and achieved.
The setting has SENCo/INCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinators and Inclusion Coordinators) that work closely with all staff and other professionals to ensure all children and family needs are met and that no individual is excluded from any event, activity or community life.
How does Stepping Stones identify that children may have the need for extra help, special educational needs or disabilities?
Our keyperson system supports and pinpoints your child’s learning and educational needs in partnership with you. We acknowledge that you, the parent/carer, knows your child best and would encourage you to share any concerns about your child’s development with your child’s keyperson at any time.
When joining nursery all children are allocated a keyperson. This keyperson will begin to build a relationship with you and your child through home and nursery visits. During these visits your keyperson will discuss with you any individual needs that your child may have.
As your child settles into nursery the keyperson will make observations and link this to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The information you share with us about your child along with the keypersons observations enables them to plot your child’s starting point against the developmental stages of an Individual Progress Review.
If the keyperson has a concern then this will be discussed with you and we will plan how to support and monitor their needs. Your child’s keyperson will work closely with you to create a One Page Profile to really focus on and explore the area of need.
If you know your child has Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) before joining our nursery please discuss this during the registration period so the appropriate support can be continued. The staff will work together with you to create an Individual Plan (IP) involving all outside professional agencies advice to ensure your child’s support remains consistent.
How will Stepping Stones support my child?
Your child’s keyperson will oversee their Journal and will work closely with you and your child to progress and plan for their learning. All members of staff in each room will help to monitor all children but it is the key persons overall responsibility to ensure that all planned activities and Journals are current.
The key person will support you and your child throughout your journey with us at Stepping Stones. The role of the key person is to respond sensitively to children’s feelings and behaviours and meet all their needs by giving reassurance as well as supporting your child’s wellbeing. The key person is a familiar figure who is accessible and available as a point of contact for you and your child.
The key person will work closely with the SENCo/INCo to develop a One Page Profile or Individual Plan with children with SEND which are reviewed regularly. These plans include individual strategies to be carried out at nursery as well as information from parents, who completed the plan and how often it will be reviewed.
We encourage parent feedback to help us evaluate how effective our practice is. One parent provided the following statement:
“Stepping Stones Nursery have been amazing since the diagnosis of my daughter’s deafness and had also supported prior to diagnosis due to delays she was having in certain areas. The staff have always taken everything in their stride and been very accommodating with the additional requirements that my daughter has, certain staff have gone outside their normal working remit to research certain areas in order to further support my daughter. Stepping Stones initiated further support from the Inclusion support team at early childhood service who were able to provide advice and strategies to the nursery and staff on the best ways to support and develop my daughter. Stepping Stones also identified that my daughter could benefit from some further funding to provide some one to one support for a certain amount of time each day. The funding was agreed and the support was put in place, which has been absolutely invaluable”.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
The EYFS encourages us to provide a play based curriculum that is stimulating, flexible and open ended allowing us to follow your child’s interests. We recognise that all children are individual and will succeed and develop at their own pace.
When your child starts with us you will be asked to complete an ‘All About Me’ which will include all relevant information about your child which will help them to settle and for us to get to know them through your eyes. This is shared with all members of the team in your child’s room.
The key person oversees and plans your child’s journey through nursery, and we encourage your contribution towards this. Each child has their own special book called ‘My Journal’. The key person will gather written and photographic observations about your child’s interests and achievements and put them into your child’s Journal.
A moving forward plan is created from these observations to extend your child’s learning. The key person will work towards these plans each week making sure activities are offered regularly to promote success.
How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my childs learning?
Your child’s moving forward plans and ideas will be shared with you termly at a parents evening and you will be encouraged to contribute by completing the ‘News from Home’ box during a contact meeting. All staff welcome informal discussions at drop off and pick up times with insights to your child’s day.
We also offer the use of a link book for those parent/carers that rely on other family member, friends or childminders to bring and/or collect your child from nursery. This informs staff of any changes to your child’s routine or needs.
The key person will review your child’s development three times a year and complete your child’s Individual Progress Review. They will organise contact meetings with you to discuss the review of your child’s development and share new plans.
If an area of concern arises or you have a concern, plans will be discussed with you to how best support your child. The key person will discuss these concerns with our SENCo/INCo and a One Page Profile may be put in place to best support your child.
If necessary we will gain further advice and support from outside agencies such as Inclusion support available through Early Childhood Service, Community Nursery Nurse, Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT) and/or Family Outreach Worker.
What support will there be for my child’s over all wellbeing?
Stepping Stones is both welcoming and inclusive, calm and stimulating. Staff are caring and attentive in supporting children’s self-esteem through positive experiences at nursery. At busy times children can access areas that are cosy and quiet both inside and out. ‘Feeling Areas’ provide a comfortable place for children to be supported by staff to recognise their own emotions.
We have a Promoting Positive Behaviour policy and this is followed throughout the nursery and shared with families. All staff are trained to use the conflict resolution approach to support children to deal with and understand these feelings and behaviour. All new staff are booked on to the ‘Promoting Positive Behaviour’ course to cascade current and relevant information.
We have a sensory room which offers a stimulating and calming environment for small group interactions. It is proven that sensory rooms can have a beneficial outcome on the progress of children particularly those with SEND.
Regular routines of toileting, hand washing, snacks and meals support all children. Staff are watchful for any changes in a children’s general behaviour or wellbeing. All units have accessible disabled toilets either in the entrance area or within the room. Changing facilities are available in all toilet areas for younger children.
If your child requires medication, permission is gained from the parent/carer and these details are documented and the medicine stored appropriately. If your child has more complex medical or health needs then a Health Care plan will need to be completed. Staff have been trained and have knowledge in administrating EpiPens, inhalers and insulin.
‘Our little boy is 3 and has type one diabetes. We leave him at Stepping Stones Nursery happy and confident that his care needs are looked after. If it wasn’t for the positive attitude shown to us by Lorraine and the team at Stepping Stones it may well have all been different. He is now able to lead as normal life as possible and still gets to play with his friends at Stepping Stones’
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by Stepping Stones?
The nursery currently has one member of staff that has Early Years Teacher Status, and seven that hold higher Early Years degrees. The majority of staff hold level 3 or equivalent Early Years qualification. The SENCo/INCo’s hold higher level qualifications and attend regular training and network meetings. Many staff at Stepping Stones have dedicated years of experience to the nursery.
The nursery has experience in supporting children with speech and language, developmental delay, managing and promoting positive behaviour and children with cerebral palsy and autism.
‘Our son started at Stepping Stones Nursery when he was 6 months old. From the start of his time there, the staff were very aware of his abilities, and that he was always behind his peers because he had been born 13 weeks prematurely. When he was 12 months, we were told by doctors that he had Cerebral Palsy. From the time of this diagnosis, the nursery were very pro-active in his development. They ensured that he was included in all activities whilst using his standing frame, corner seat and walker.
His time at Stepping Stones was a very rewarding one, as it gave him the confidence to join in normal activities, and to give him an easy transition into his Primary School. We are very grateful to all the staff as they have helped to make him who he is.’
Staff use government advice to support children’s development and remain up to date with current changes. The nursery has an excellent understanding of signposting to other agencies such as our local children’s centre. We have worked with Early Support, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists to achieve strategies to support children’s development plans.
We have a community nursery nurse, under the health visitor team that visits the nursery termly to discuss any concerns of children that attend. We provide information about events and groups at the local children’s centre and refer families to our designated Outreach Worker.
What training are the staff, supporting children with SEND had or are having?
Our staff are trained in Paediatric First Aid, Child Protection, Health and Safety and Manual Handling. Many of the staff have attended Lets get talking, Early Language Development, Sing and Sign, Makaton and Positive Behaviour Training in order to support children with communication and language and aspects of Personal, Social and Emotional development.
Staff attend training provided through Early Childhood Service giving the opportunity to maintain their up to date knowledge of working with children and families. Staff with specific responsibilities attend regular network meetings to help cascade up to date information to all staff to ensure we are constantly evaluating best practice as well as adapting for any children with SEND.
How will my child be included in activities outside Stepping Stones including trips?
All children are included in all activities both inside and outside the nursery. This may include access to the surrounding campus, use of the Arena or any other planned outing.
Specific needs of individual children will be considered and adaptations be made to include all children. If necessary the parent/carer will be asked to accompany their child.
Consultation with parents to ensure inclusion will support the needs of each child and appropriate strategies will be agreed.
Detailed risk assessments will be carried out prior to any event to ensure all possible risks are considered and that everyone’s safety is not compromised.
How accessible is Stepping Stones environment? (Indoors and Outdoors)
Access into nursery is fully wheel chair accessible with slopes.
There is a disabled bay in the car park.
There are accessible toilet and changing facilities in all units.
To communicate with families with English as an additional language we signpost to other agencies for support, use Makaton, visual time tables and choice boards throughout rooms.
All staff manage a door bell system with key pad lock in two of the units and a double latch lock in the other.
Only staff are able to answer the door and parent/carers are reminded not to let anybody in.
How will Stepping Stones prepare and support my child to join Stepping Stones, transfer to a new setting/school?
The staff recognise that children and families both need support through changes and transition into different phases in their lives. We include both the child and their family into this process and also ask for feedback on your experiences. Home and nursery visits are essential to build our initial relationship with you and your child when starting nursery. We encourage additional visits if necessary, and telephone to have an update on your child’s day.
Children as they grow will move rooms and staff are sensitive to progress with change slowly by lots of short visits to their new environments. Parent/carers are informed and shown their new room with their child and the process is explained.
When it comes to moving onto school the process will be explained and celebrated to give both the child and parent/carers the reassurance of what is to come. School teachers will visit our nursery to meet the children. If children have particular needs then a transition meeting with both teacher, keyperson and parent/carers will be arranged.
In the summer term we will arrange a formal parents evening for each parent with a school leaver to have an in depth chat with their keyperson.
Please refer to our transition policy for further information.
How are Stepping Stones resources allocated and matched to childrens special educational needs?
If a child is identified when starting nursery to have a special educational need then an appropriate keyperson will be allocated to suit the needs of the child. Staff training and knowledge will be taken into account to give the child the best support.
Many staff have long term experience and knowledge is supporting children development that may require further support.
Sing and sign, Makaton, visual timetables and choice boards are available to support all children. Small group activities are organised and children’s individual needs are identified.
The SENco/INcOs support all other staff in monitoring children’s progress and will make suggestions and referrals to other agencies if staff have concerns about a children’s development. We will always ask for parental consent before making these referrals.
If necessary inclusion funding or enhanced funding can be applied for to support the child in the setting. Advice can be given to families on two and three year old funding eligibility.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
A keyperson will look closely at a child’s progress and will discuss any concerns with the SENcO/IncO. Together along with the parent/carers all decisions will be discussed.
Depending on the need of the child, support may be a one page profile which is completed with keyperson and parent/carer and strategies displayed in room to ensure all staff and consistent.
If progress has not be seen then further support may be sourced outside of the setting through services offered such as inclusion support though Early Childhood Service , our community nursery nurse and local children and family centre.
Through consistent reviewing of these strategies the keyperson can see the impact it has on the child.
Our little girl is a typical noisy 3 year old at home but it had become obvious that she wouldn’t talk to anyone at nursery. The nursery suggested the TSS team and they offered lots of advice for both nursery and home to help make her feel as relaxed as possible. After a few months our daughter began to point and nod to communicate with staff. However both I and the staff were still concerned so reassessed as decided that a home visit with two of her favourite members of staff may help. Much to our amazement she was chatting and singing with staff and didn’t want them to go! We are all so proud of her and although she can be a little quiet with less familiar staff she is continuing to talk whilst at nursery. Stepping Stones are continuing to help by offering stay ad play sessions with me as well as home visits with further staff. We can’t thank stepping stones enough for everything they have done to make her feel comfortable, relaxed and confident to talk at nursery as well as home.
How are parents involved in stepping stones? How can I be involved?
As parents/carers we value that you know your child best and staff will encourage you to share you experiences you have with your child with us.
We work hard to create strong partnerships with our parents and want to build a trustful and respectful relationship between us.
We encourage parent/carers to regularly talk about your child’s achievements at drop off or pick up time, during contact meetings or by filling out news from home slips or diary pages to add to your child’s journal.
Parents/carers are welcome to stay and play once your child has settled in. We welcome all parent/carers to share their culture, interest, skill or profession by coming into nursery. Some parents come and share stories in their home language or share their talent on a musical instrument.
We want all parents/carers to feel welcome and be involved in nursery life.
We ask our parents/carers to complete a nursery questionnaire once a year to listen to any suggestions, concerns or ideas they have about nursery.
Please refer to our parental involvement policy for further information.
If you would like any further information please talk to your keyperson or the nursery SENcO/INcO
Who can I contact for further information?
If you want to discuss something about your child your first point of call will be your child’s keyperson.
All staff within the child’s room will be involved in their development.
If you are worried about your child you can talk to any member of staff who you feel most confident speaking too. The SENcOs/INcos are always around for advice and support to the whole family.
If you are thinking of joining our nursery please contact our manager- Lorraine Mellers on 01243 871044
Our SENcOs are Laura J and Chrissie.
For further information about West Sussex Local Offer please visit https://westsussex.local-offer.org/