Being a key person at Choochoos
Being a key person at Choochoos is the most rewarding role a practitioner can have. Staff take the role of being a key person for children at Choochoos very seriously and work closely with parents/carers to form a close relationship with the whole family.
Choochoos are very proud of our embedded key person/buddy approach. Believing it is the most effective way to promote communication and partnership between home and the nursery. Being a key person isn’t just about planning and observing a child, it’s about forming a special bond with a child, to be aware and accommodate their every need. The key person will respond sensitively to a child’s feelings, interests, development and behaviour, communicating with parents/carers to make sure the child is being cared for appropriately.
The EYFS 2017 states, ‘Each child must be assigned a key person’.
‘Choochoos key person approach is excellent, always friendly and approachable’, (Parent, November 2020).
What is a key person?
A key person at Choochoos is a practitioner assigned to an individual child and their family to support their needs and development whilst attending Choochoos. A key person will build trusting and respectful relationships to enable the child to grow in confidence to thrive in their surroundings. The key person will be assigned to match the child’s days to ensure consistency for the child and will be introduced to the parents/carers and child during the parent’s paperwork meeting, prior to the home visit.
A key person at Choochoos acts as a parents/carers key point of contact and will visit the child and family in their home environment for a home visit before the child starts to attend their settling sessions at Choochoos. This relationship with the key person will continue to support the child, working closely with the parents/carers throughout their settles and for the rest of their time within that room while at Choochoos.
Parents/carers and the child will have more contact with the child’s key person than any other member of staff at Choochoos. A key person has special responsibilities including:
- Building a strong relationship with the child and family.
- Ensuring the child settles into Choochoos with the smoothest transition.
- Providing care and support to their personal and care needs.
- Being parents/carers point of contact, throughout their time at Choochoos. These will include, greeting/feedback at drop off and collection of the child, termly parent’s meetings, etc.
- Developing the child’s online eyLog learning journey to capture their progress and development at Choochoos, while working with parents/carers to also partake with sharing homelife. The online learning journey will also include a child’s starting points, next steps, progress tracker, parents/carers input and evaluations of their progress and development.
- Supporting and enhancing a child’s interests, schema, well being and involvement.
- Providing activities and experiences to help to move a child on to their next stage of learning, by knowing that child and their progress/development.
The key person will play a main part in the child’s life during their time at Choochoos, forming a special bond where a trusting and healthy relationship can develop. It is important that an attachment is formed between the key person and family.
What is a buddy?
In the event of a child’s key person being absent from Choochoos (on a training course or on annual leave), we operate a buddy system to ensure consistency of care for each child/family. The buddy is allocated at the same time as the key person, assigned to match the child’s days they attend Choochoos and will be introduced to the parents/carers and child during the parent’s paperwork meeting prior to the home visit.
The buddy and key person communicate daily and work closely as a team, to ensure the child is supported in their key person’s absence. The buddy would act as the key person would on the day of the key persons absence, informing parents/carers prior to this or on the morning of the drop off. It is important for us that the child and parents/carers get to know the buddy just as well as the key person.
Who is your child’s key person?
- A key person/buddy is selected based on the days the child will be attending Choochoos, ensuring the days match with the keyperson/buddy.
- The key person/buddy will be allocated once we have organised the child’s parent pack, home visits and settling dates with the parents/carers, to ensure the key person is the right match.
- Parents/carers will be made aware of who the key person/buddy is for the child, during the parent pack (paperwork) meeting with the nursery manager at Choochoos, prior to the home visit.
- The parents/carers will be introduced to the child’s key person/buddy during the parent pack meeting and be given a photo of them to take home for them to show/speak to the child about in preparation for the home visit.
- The key person will visit the child/parents/carers in the home or at an environment familiar to the child, this is known as a home visit. The home visit is a very important part of the care we provide to begin the relationship between the child and the key person.
- Following the home visit the child with their parents/carers will attend some settling sessions at Choochoos, alongside their key person/buddy.
- Refer to our lobby parents/carers display, for our key group/buddy list for more information.
‘Being an employee is more than just a job, it is a place of which I enjoy going into on a daily basis. I find my job rewarding whilst watching my key children grow into smart, intelligent young children. There is not a day that goes by when I question if I’ve chosen the right career, as I generally believe my job is truly special and I am proud to be a team member at Choochoos’, (Staff member, November 2020).
Change of key person/buddy
Every child will move rooms depending on their growth and age while at Choochoos. Choochoos has a variety of rooms based on age/development. This is the only time a child’s key person/buddy would change. Due to the strong key person approach we provide, the key person is unable to move rooms with the child.
However when a child moves to the next room, Choochoos has a thorough procedure in place to help make the transition as smooth and positive for the child and parents/carers.
When a child moves rooms, the transitions consists of:
- The manager and room leader closely monitoring with the key person every child’s individuals needs, development and progress, communicating closely with parents/carers.
- The manager/room leader would communicate together to decide when they feel the child is ready for the transition to the next room, with the key person.
- The key person would then speak to parents/carers to inform them of their thoughts about the transition, to see what the parents/carers also think.
- The parents/carers would be offered a show around of the next room by the manager or room leader, before any of the transition would take place.
- Once the parents/carers and key person have made the decision for the child to make the transition to the next room, the room leader/manager will allocate a new key person/buddy for the child in their new room and complete settling dates.
- The settling dates will start with the new key person visiting the current key person/child in their current room, to discuss progress, development, care/personal needs for the child. Then the new key person will visit the child again in their current room and slowly begin to bring them into their new room, these will be repeated until we feel the child is settled.
- These settling dates will be shared with the parents/carers, along with a photo of the child’s new key person and a transition letter with information about the child’s new room and transition.
- The parents/carers will be offered a new home visit for the child, with the new key person to help begin that relationship.