Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. Positive relationships are warm and loving, foster a sense of belonging and are sensitive and responsive to children’s needs. The Early Years Foundation Stage also state that positive relationships include being stimulating, supportive of children’s efforts and independence and being consistent in setting clear boundaries.
Within Early Years, to ensure positive relationships are made between practitioners, children and families, the Key Person System is critical. A Key Person is a member of our team who has responsibility for a small group of children and ensures they feel safe and cared for.
This role is important and it involves the Key Person responding sensitively to children’s feelings and behaviour, and supporting physical needs too, for example, nappy changing or feeding. The Key Person is a familiar figure who is accessible and available as a point of contact for children and parents. They also meet emotional needs by giving support and reassurance, especially when the child is new to a setting or is changing room.
In our babyroom, we have recently had a lot of new babies start at nursery. With this in mind, we have set our planning board to ‘Making Relationships’, planning individual aims for each child. This means that practitioners within the room are supporting each child’s individual development as well as making and maintaining good relationships with children.
Some of the aims include: one to one time with a baby’s key person taking part in painting activities or looking at books together. The babies have enjoyed lots of valuable time with their key person, through 1:1 time, cuddles, messy activities and bottle times. This is clear through good relationships with our babies.
Practitioners track each child’s development every term. On the last tracking term, 94% of our babies had made progress in ‘Making Relationships’. On the most recent tracking term, 100% of our babies had made progress in ‘Making Relationships’ which is a great achievement!
We have also recently updated one of our display boards to ‘Making Relationships’ which shows pictures of all of our baby practitioners bonding with their key children, and also has information on it regarding ‘making relationships’ and the Key Person System for parents to look at.
Here is some parent feedback from the parents’ of some of our new babies:
‘I think Marie is brilliant. She’s very caring, attentive to details and my child has warmed very well to her’.
‘Emma is lovely. We really respect and trust her, and appreciate her caring attitude and kindness’.
‘Paige has been great and has helped with the settling in process and also keeping us up to date on how the day has gone’.
‘Unbelievably helpful, genuinely caring and has already developed a bond with my
‘You simply are an inspiration. We cannot thank you enough for everything that you have done – he has come on leaps and bounds since starting with you’.