How your child with emerging needs is supported through early years

All early years settings must to put in place a ‘graduated approach’ to supporting children’s learning development. This is a system to identify and meet the needs of all children, including those who may have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

Settings include all private nurseries, state nurseries and childminders that support children over the age of two.

The first stage of support is ‘emerging needs’ and needs are met through Quality First Teaching - this is providing high quality teaching for all children.

The setting will talk to you about any needs your child may have and agree the next steps with you. If your child’s needs continue, staff will meet with you to discuss whether your child needs any additional support. They may seek advice from other people that work with your child. A SEN Support Plan may be written for your child and will be reviewed regularly.

You can expect that in early years settings:
  • All staff will take part in ongoing training. Where staff work with children who have additional needs, specialised training will be available from an appropriate professional.
  • Staff will tell you where you can get appropriate materials to support your child and how to access support groups.
  • Staff will make sure that they communicate with you.
Your child's needs will fall within four broad areas
  • Learning and cognition
  • Social, emotional and mental health
  • Communication and interaction
  • Physical and sensory (sight/hearing)

The type and level of support your child receives will depend on their individual needs. With the appropriate help, your child will start to make small steps of progress.

Learning and cognition
  • Giving your child time in a small group to develop play and hands on activities
  • Using a consistent and appropriate level of language
  • Providing ongoing assessments to see how your child is developing
  • Asking other professionals (e.g. educational psychologist) for advice on how to meet your child’s needs
  • Providing a broad range of toys and equipment
  • Offering your child support to reinforce learning
Social, emotional and mental heath needs
  • Praising your child, showing warmth and respect, and modelling good social skills
  • Working as a team to help your child to manage their feelings and behaviour
  • Working with you to make sure your child is getting the same messages from everyone
  • Taking specialist advice and using specialised resources and programmes if required
  • Offering individual support and group work to meet your child’s needs.


Communication and interaction
  • Giving your child time to communicate, mix with others and play
  • Supporting your child’s attempts to communicate, not overusing questions and allowing you child 10 seconds to respond (10 second rule)
  • Using picture cues, colour coding and designated play areas and routines
  • Using songs and rhymes to develop pitch and tone
  • Preparing your child for any changes in the pattern of the day
  • Providing small group and supported activities to help your child develop self-help, independence and imaginative play skills
  • Helping your child develop specific skills through a planned programme, using professional advice
Physical and sensory (sight/hearing)
  • Considering the layout of rooms, allowing your child the space and time to move around
  • Providing your child a range of equipment, such as a variety of sizes or adapted versions
  • Following guidance from the Physical and Sensory Support Service for children with physical, hearing and visual difficulties, based at Richard Cloudesley school
  • Ensuring good light levels and appropriate seating
  • Providing small group activities to develop good listening
  • Providing examples and prompt sheets
  • Seeking professional advice, if required, to ensure your child can safely access the setting, equipment and seating
  • Providing additional support to develop gross motor skills, e.g. using a walking aid
  • Reminding your child to go to the toilet, if required
    Following programmes recommended by occupational,physiotherapists, or speech and language therapists
    Providing specialist PE equipment and supervising your child closely.

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