4.1 The role of the key person and settling-in
At Thorpe Acre Preschool Playgroup, we believe that children settle best when they have a key
person to relate to, who knows them and their parents well, and who can meet their individual needs. Research shows that a key person approach benefits the child, the parents, the staff and the
setting by providing secure relationships in which children thrive, parents have confidence and staff are committed to making the setting a happy and dedicated place to attend or work
We want children to feel safe, stimulated and happy in the setting and to feel secure and
comfortable with staff. We also want parents to have confidence in both their children's well-being and their role as active partners with the setting.
We aim to make the setting a welcoming place where children settle quickly and easily because
consideration has been given to the individual needs and circumstances of children and their families.
They key person role is set out in the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements of the Early
Years Foundation Stage. Each setting must assign a key person for each child.
The procedures set out a model for developing a key person approach that promotes effective
and positive relationships for children who are in settings.
- We allocate a key person from their start date.
- The key person is responsible for settling the child into our setting.
- The key person offers unconditional regard for the child and is non-judgemental.
- The key person works with the parent to plan and deliver a personalised plan for the child’s well-being, care and
- The key person acts as the key contact for the parents and has links with other carers involved with the child, such as
a childminder, and co-ordinates the sharing of appropriate information about the child’s development with those carers.
- The key person is responsible for developmental records and for sharing information on a regular basis with the child’s
parents to keep those records up-to-date, reflecting the full picture of the child in our setting and at home.
- The key person encourages positive relationships between all children, spending time with them in a small group each
- We provide a back-up key person so the child and the parents have a key contact in the absence of the child’s key
- We believe that all children benefit from having good relationships with all keyperson’s in the setting, to ensure that
all children receive the care and attention they need, fostering good relationships between all staff and children.
- Before a child starts to attend the setting, we use a variety of ways to provide his/her parents with information.
These include written information (including our prospectus and policies), displays about activities available within the setting, information days and individual meetings with
- During the half-term before a child is enrolled, we provide opportunities for the child and his/her parents to visit
the setting and to ‘stay and play’ prior to starting.
- We allocate a key person to each child and his/her family upon starting at the setting; the key person welcomes and
looks after the child and his/her parents at the child's first session and during the settling-in process.
- We use pre-start visits and the first session at which a child attends to explain and complete, with his/her parents,
the child's registration records.
- When a child starts to attend, we explain the process of settling-in with his/her parents and jointly decide on the
best way to help the child to settle into the setting.
- Parents, carer or close relatives are encouraged to stay for some/most of the session during the first few days,
gradually taking time away from their child, increasing this as and when the child is able to cope.
- Younger children will take longer to settle in, as will children who have not previously spent time away from home.
Children who have had a period of absence may also need their parent to be on hand to re-settle them.
- We judge a child to be settled when they have formed a relationship with their key person; for example, the child looks
for the key person when he/she arrives, goes to them for comfort and seems pleased to be with them. The child is also familiar with where things are and is pleased to see other children and
participate in activities.
- When parents leave, we ask them to say goodbye to their child and explain that they will be coming back, and
- We recognise that some children will settle more readily than others but that some children who appear to settle
rapidly are not ready to be left. We encourage parents to stay for at least the first few sessions, or possibly longer, until their child can stay happily without them.
- We do not believe that leaving a child to cry will help them to settle any quicker. We believe that a child's distress
will prevent them from learning and gaining the best from the setting. We encourage parents to bring any comforters a child may use if this will help the child to settle more
- We reserve the right not to accept a child into the setting without a parent or carer if the child finds it distressing
to be left. This is especially the case with very young children.
- Within the first four to six weeks of starting we discuss and work with the child's parents to begin to create their
child's record of achievement.
The progress check at age two
- The key person carries out the progress check at age two in accordance with any local procedures that are in place and
referring to the supporting guidance to the EYFS A Know How Guide: The EYFS progress check at age two.
- The progress check aims to review the child’s development and ensures that parents have a clear picture of their
- Within the progress check, the key person will note areas where the child is progressing well and identify areas where
progress is less than expected.
- The progress check will describe the actions that will be taken by the setting to address any developmental concerns
(including working with other professionals where appropriate) as agreed with the parent(s).
- The key person will plan activities to meet the child’s needs within the setting and will support parents to understand
the child’s needs in order to enhance their development at home.
This policy was adopted at a meeting of
(name of provider)
Date to be reviewed
Signed on behalf of the management committee
Name of signatory
Role of signatory (e.g. chair/owner)
Other useful Pre-school Learning
- Play is What I Do (2010)
- Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2012) With supporting
Updated December 2013