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Making the Pre-School Setting a Supportive and Safe Environment

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Cache Level 3 Diploma in Pre-school Practice Core unit 3 – Making the pre-school setting a supportive and safe environment. The 1981 Warnock Report and Education Act highlighted the concept of children having special educational needs. This means each setting needs to have an inclusion policy that states that all children and their parents are included regardless of there race, religion or disability. Our admissions policy reflects this.

The UN Convention on the rights of the child (1989) added to the Warnock Report by stating that disabled children have the right to be included in mainstream education, allowing the child to achieve the fullest possible social integration and individual development.

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The ramifications for settings include providing an environment that is inclusive and accessible to all. The Special Needs Code of Practice (2001) provides practical advice for settings on the statutory requirements. This code became effective in January 2002 and from that date any planning settings undertake must have regard to it.

In 1994 the UNESCO Salamanca Statement was produced which represented a world wide consensus to endorse an approach of inclusive schools.

It called for inclusive education to be the norm and adopted a Framework for Action which said ordinary schools should include all children. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA), which consolidated the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 are all represented in our equal opportunities policies to ensure that all children and their families are treated equally in our setting.

In 2003 the government brought out a green paper called Every Child Matters. This paper set out the government’s commitment to improve the outcomes for all children and identify barriers for children with SEN and disabilities. Several other pieces of legislation followed in the next few years which helped to make clear the duties of all types of settings and Local Authorities, including the 2004 Children’s Act which built on the previous 1989 edition. 2006 brought the Common Assessment Framework (CAF), which all local authorities will work towards.

The CAF is meant to improve the partnership between all relevant agencies and therefore provide a more effective way of identifying the additional needs of the child at an earlier stage. 2008 sees the introduction of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, which has been designed by the Government to provide a comprehensive guide to settings on all the legislation, policies and procedures required by law. My pre-school’s policies include the above legislation to ensure that we are providing an inclusive environment for all children in our care.

Every child is an individual and should be given the opportunity to thrive in a safe environment and have the chance to fulfil their full potential. Each child should be valued for who they are regardless of their ethnic or cultural background, linguistic ability, religious and family background, physical or mental ability, gender and sexuality or financial situation. Every setting should strive to promote a child’s confidence and self esteem by providing an Anti-bias and Inclusive curriculum which should incorporate the positive intent to be multicultural and anti discriminatory.

It should at the same time provide an inclusive education which takes into account the children and their families and the community in which the setting is situated. Promoting a sense of belonging and valuing each child’s contributions are paramount and it is now recognised that inclusive practices are a key way in which we can try and help create a fairer society in which all members are equally valued. There are many ways a setting can promote an inclusive environment, most importantly by having an unbiased and inclusive attitude to all the children in your care, a good range of display material is very useful.

It should include an equal amount of images of different races and sexes and also able bodied and disabled people and children. The home corner can also be a good place to promote anti-biased attitudes as it lends its self to a variety of different cultural cooking and house keeping methods, as does the dressing up box. It is also important to consider the needs of all the children when doing your planning to ensure that the activities are suitable. Prejudice: An attitude, opinion, or feeling formed without adequate prior knowledge, thought ,or reason.

Prejudice can be prejudgment for or against any person, group, or sex. (Dermon-Sparks and the A. B. C Task Force, 2000 p10). Each setting should have and Inclusion/anti-discrimination policy in which the procedures of the settings are clearly written down for staff to follow. It is important to have carefully written policies in place in our settings as this not only conforms to current legislation (Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage), but also makes sure that staff know what to do in any given situation and helps us to provide a safe and healthy environment for all the children in our care.

Policies to be included would be:- A Heath and Hygiene policy, which would detail such things as actions to be taken when dealing with body fluids, and hand washing procedures. A Food Handling Policy which would deal with all aspects of food hygiene and preparation, and provision for such things as fresh drinking water being available to children at all times and that all food provided is healthy and nutritious. A First Aid Policy. The setting should have a Registered Paediatric First Aider. An Accident’s Policy, which would include the correct procedures for recording accident’s and incidents.

A Medicines Policy which would detail procedures to be followed when medicine need to be administered to a child. It is important to remember that parents must always be informed of any medicines administered and written permission should always be obtained. A Sick Child Policy which would detail actions to be taken when a child is sick and how long the child should be away from the setting after sickness. These policies conforms to the EYFS guide lines;- The provider must promote the good health of the children, take necessary steps to prevent the spread of infection, and take appropriate action when they are ill. Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Department for Education and Skills. 2007 Page 27) A Child Protection Policy is very important as staff need to know the correct action to be taken in the event of suspected abuse. An Emergency’s policy for actions to be taken in event of a fire or other emergency’s is important. The new SFEYFS states that “regular evacuation drills should be carried out and details recorded in a fire log book of any problems encountered and how they were resolved. ” (Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Department for Education and Skills. 007 Page 7) It is important to update policies on a regular basis to make sure that they are inclusive of current practice and pertinent to your setting. It is the provider’s responsibility to ensure that staff have the correct training to be able to implement these policies. It is impossible to eliminate all dangers from a setting, and indeed it would not be beneficial to the children in our care to be in a totally risk free setting as they need to explore the environment in which they live and the toys and equipment with which they play in order to develop and learn.

However, it is our responsibility to keep the children as safe as possible and to eliminate as many risks as possible. A Risk Assessment is a document that details the risks or danger areas of a particular place, activity or setting. Carrying out a Risk Assessment is the first step in providing a low risk environment for our children to play in. When doing a Risk Assessment of a setting it is important to think about what the children will be doing and to think about the risks at their level.

But it should also be remembered that the safety of the staff also needs to be taken into consideration. There are different types of Risk Assessments that can be carried out, possibly the most important being a detailed document of the building/premises, which should be done yearly and should include checks of all equipment including electrical and fire safety equipment. This does not mean that ongoing risk assessment does not need to be done on a regular basis but it provides a frame work for any improvements that may be necessary.

A daily risk assessment should be carried out at the beginning of every session to check that no risks have occurred over night especially if the setting has an out side area which could have been contaminated by animal waste. And again at the end of a session making sure that any broken toys/equipment is disposed of. Risk assessments of food preparation areas should be carried out on a regular basis to ensure that facilities and equipment are clean and safe and conform to national standards.

Hygienic preparation of food is extremely important as small children are very susceptible to food poisoning. Each activity that the children are involved in also needs a separate risk assessment such as if the children need to use scissors for a craft activity. And a detailed Risk Assessment should be made for any outings that the children may be taken on. If a child feels emotionally secure he/she is more able to develop and grow in confidence and ability. Even at a very young age children can feel scared and alone when left in a new place with new people.

It is very important for the child’s holistic development that they feel secure with their carers and in their environment. Emotional development promotes self esteem, confidence and resilience, and allows them to feel confident in taking risks. The importance of emotional security has been highlighted in the recent Every Child Matters framework. A key worker is very important for babies as they have probably only had one primary carer before coming to the setting and they have strong bonds with this person.

Babies need someone to take on this role when the parents are not present. John Bowlby a notable child development theorist believed that early relationships with caregivers play a major role in child development and continue to influence social relationships throughout life. It can be very unsettling for a baby to be passed to a stranger and a baby needs time to form a bond with a key worker. When a small baby arrives at a setting it is important to have a “settling in” session for the parents and babies to help them become familiar with the setting and the key worker.

This helps the baby to become accustomed to the setting and the key worker and also helps the parent to feel confident in leaving their baby and a happy parent is a major factor in a happy and content child. Babies like routines and this highlights the importance of good communication between practitioners and parents. The key worker should find out as much as possible about the baby, including sleep patterns, feeding routines, do they have a comforter, and any other comfort actions that the parents use. It is also necessary to provide a clean warm environment with somewhere safe for the baby to sleep, also appropriate food and drink

Although babies can not use recognisable language there are still many ways that we can communicate with them, babies respond to facial expressions and tone of voice and most babies are calmed by singing or rhymes, signing is also being used as a method of communication. Parents are the first educators of their children and not only that but they have the most knowledge of their child’s needs. Good, effective communication between staff and parents is essential for the child’s well being and the parents wishes should always be taken into consideration when any decisions concerning the child are taken.

The pre-school experience should be one that involves the whole family and it is important to make the child’s parents feel welcome and included in the day-to-day activities of the setting. Education from beginning to end works best as collaboration between the school/per-school and the child’s family/carers. A Key worker is vital in the communication with parents as they become someone the parents can feel comfortable with and with whom they are happy to discuss issues concerning their child. The key worker can then pass on any relevant information to the other staff at staff meetings, but confidentiality should always be respected.

The need for good communications with parents is paramount. Settings need to provide for parents with low literacy as well as parents with English as a second language so that the child’s development can be discussed in an effective way. Using pictorial prompts can be very helpful. It is also very important to learn about the child’s cultural and religious needs and the parent’s wishes in this area. Such things as dietary needs and skin and hair care fall into this category and well as understanding observance of festivals and special days. It is only by working closely with the parent that this knowledge can be obtained.

Home dairy’s are a very effective way to communicating with parents. Small pictures could be provided for families with no English or low literacy which they could stick in a book, pictures of such things as families sharing a meal, children in the park, parents and children looking at books together. Settings should also be encouraged to have an open door policy and parents should always feel that they are welcome in the setting and that their views are important. In the Every Child Matters initiative, under the Five Outcomes it states that the government has a responsibility to protect children from abuse or neglect.

The five out comes stresses that the child has a right to “Stay Safe”. It is our responsibility to teach and encourage children to respect and value themselves and keep themselves safe from abuse. We can do this is many ways, children under three are not really able to do much to protect themselves but we can put in place policies and practices that help reinforce positive attitudes in the child. We need to be aware of the types of abuse; Physical, Emotional, Sexual and Neglect, and the signs to look for to identify abuse.

We need to be observant of the children in our care and have procedures in place so that any incidents or sign’s of abuse that you have notices can be properly recorded. With small children who have no language or are just developing language skills most of the responsibility for their safety rests with the adult but as children grow and acquire more language we need to empower them which means encouraging them to become as independent as possible. This in turn can give children the confidence to avoid abuse or tell an adult about it.

Children should be made aware, without frightening them that there are areas of their bodies that are private to themselves and they have the right to tell people not to touch them there. Singing rhymes at circle time can be a good way of teaching child about body parts, as can age appropriate books and posters. No one wants to believe a child is being abused, but it does happen. However there are steps that a practitioner can take to try and prevent children being harmed, and being in contact with a child every day gives you a unique opportunity to observe a child and notice any changes in their behaviour.

All setting should have a comprehensive policy detailing the settings procedures for dealing with any suspected abuse. Proper adherence to the settings procedures for reporting suspected abuse is vital in avoiding misunderstandings and in safeguarding children and staff. Each setting needs to have a Child Protection Officer (CPO) in place that is ultimately responsible for the safety of the children and staff need to be aware who this is.

However all staff have a responsibility to record any concerns they may have regarding a child such as unexplained injuries or unusual changes in behaviour, and report them to the settings Child Protection Officer. The CPO must be aware of the procedures to follow if the concerns for the child become acute. A list of names and telephone numbers of social workers and the local NSCPP should be clearly available to make liaising with other professionals easy in an emergency situation. The Child Protection Officer should be in charge of all issues to do with child protection including an incident book in which all incidents should be recorded.

It is very important that if you do have any concerns regarding a child they should be recorded in the appropriate record book and the signature of a witness should always be included. Your setting should have procedures in place to help staff cope with this difficult topic, and staff should be given a copy of the procedures when they start work at the setting. The CPO should always be the person to deal with this delicate subject and confidentiality is very important, no member of staff should try to resolve any suspected abuse issue by them selves.

But the safety of the child should always remain paramount. Everyone from parents to practitioners is part of the team that is involved with the care of a child in a pre-school setting. Communication between all members of the team, including all adult professionals is vital in providing the best care experience for the child. The setting should have a keyworker system in place so that the individual needs of the child can be met and it is very important that all relevant information should be shared with other staff members and professionals involved in the care of the child.

It is important to respect each other and learn to value everyone’s contribution to the learning journey of the child no matter now small that contribution may be. Parents particularly should be encouraged to make positive contributions to the pre-school as this is not only beneficial to the child but can be empowering for the whole family. As part of a professional team we need to learn to value the strengths, and understand the weaknesses of each member of the setting, and then to use those talents to benefit the whole group. Sharing of responsibilities and tasks in the pre-school help to identify people’s strengths, one good method f achieving this is to implement rotas so that each person can try all the different jobs that are involved in the running of a pre-school. It is important to remember that effective relationships are based on trust and to spend time building relationships with our co-workers and with the children’s parents. A pre-school should always be a welcoming place for children and their parents/carers and staff should strive to be approachable and listen to the parents concerns always remembering that confidentiality should be respected.

Cite this Making the Pre-School Setting a Supportive and Safe Environment

Making the Pre-School Setting a Supportive and Safe Environment. (2016, Oct 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/making-the-pre-school-setting-a-supportive-and-safe-environment/

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