What is a Key Person
Children thrive from a base of loving and secure relationships. This is normally provided by a child’s parents but it can also be provided by a key person. A key person is a named member of staff with responsibilities for a small group of children who helps those children in the group feel safe and cared for. The role is an important one and an approach set out in the EYFS which is working successfully in settings and in Reception classes. It involves the key person in responding sensitively to children’s feelings and behaviours and meeting emotional needs by giving reassurance, such as when they are new to a setting or class, and supporting the child’s well-being. The key person supports physical needs too, helping with issues like nappy changing, toileting and dressing. That person is a familiar figure who is accessible and available as a point of contact for parents and one who builds relationships with the child and parents or carers.
Records of development and care are created and shared by the key person, parents and the child. Small groups foster close bonds between the child and the key person in a way that large groups cannot easily do. These groups allow the key person to better tune into children’s play and their conversations to really get to know the children in the group well. Children feel settled and happy and are more confident to explore and as a result become more capable learners.
The role and responsibilities of the Key person:
- Every child in the nursery is assigned a key person the parent will be informed of who this will be at the start of settling in.
- The key person will help the child to become familiar with the nursery and to feel confident and safe within it, developing a genuine bond with the child (and the child’s parents) and offering a settled, close relationship.
- The Key person will spend time during the first session to explain, routines, activities and talk with the parents about the child’s All about me, and to discuss arrangements for further settling visits.
- The key person will meet the needs of each child in their care and respond sensitively to their feelings, ideas and behaviour, talking to parents to make sure that the child is being cared for appropriately.
- The key person will provide learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interest of each individual child, within a challenging and supportive environment. Also to share with parents as to how they could also engage in similar activities at home to encourage their child’s development, building a bridge between home and nursery.
- Time can be arranged at any time to allow the key person to give feed back on the child’s progress to the parents, sharing observations and planning for the child’s next steps. Parents are free to discuss with nursery staff at any time any issues relating to their child.
- The key person will work in partnership with parents along with other professionals involved with the child and their family.
- The Key person will encourage parents to be involved with the nursery as much as possible and always welcome their views.
- The key person will aim to make parents aware of their planned absences from nursery. During such times other members of the team will step into this role to ensure the needs of all the children are met.
- The key person also acknowledges and respects any religious beliefs, special dietary requirements and general family information, logging information on relevant forms and incorporating these into planning, they will ensure this information is shared with the whole team to achieve continuity of care.
- Parents should have the confidence that issues regarding their child and family will be treated with confidentiality and only shared with relevant staff members.