The early years of a child’s life are the most important years in terms of child development. The first 1,001 days of life - the time roughly between conception and a child’s second birthday - is a unique period of opportunity when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment are established. While the human brain continues to develop and change throughout life, the most rapid period of brain growth is in the last trimester of pregnancy and the first two years of life – a period of around 1001 days.
At Portland Nurseries, we understand the importance of these early years and strive to ensure all children, from the moment they start at nursery, have access to high quality provision. Every child is unique and we ensure children are supported to reach their potential whist recognising that all children develop at different rates and in different ways. We have high aspirations and expectations for all children.
Central to our provision is the care we provide for children who have additional needs or require that little bit of extra support. We have an experienced team of SENCO’s (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators) supporting children, families and practitioner’s across our six nurseries. Should our team of experienced practitioners or our nursery SENCO’s identify that a child is in need of additional support, our stringent policies outline the procedures we follow to ensure appropriate support is soon in place. We work alongside parents and carers, ensuring that communication is a two way process to ensure children are supported both at home and at nursery.
If we feel a child needs some extra support, we first consider whether this can be done within nursery with an individual education plan (IEP). This outlines our aims, how children are to be supported and any adaptions that may be required to remove barriers to learning. This plan is then be reviewed after an appropriate period of time and the next steps of the child’s journey will be planned, with parents fully involved in the process at all times. Often, after a period of time, children require no further support. For those little ones who need continued support, we work closely with the early years teams based within the child’s local authority to support children’s journey from nursery into their school setting.
Local authorities have a duty to publish a ‘local offer’ which details, in one easily accessible place, the support in place for children and families. The aim of this is to provide clear and relevant information regarding what support is available and how this can be accessed. The local offer is a great place to start if you are looking for information regarding what’s available in your local area. The information on this website ranges from information regarding support groups to transport, financial help and information about educational support.
Having a child with special educational needs can be a daunting prospect. The poem entitled ‘Welcome to Holland’ beautifully describes a parents journey after their child was born with a disabilty. In this poem, Emily Kingsley compares her parenting journey to preparing for a trip to Italy but arriving in Holland. She eloquently writes about reading guides books for Italy but landing in Holland feeling unprepared, having read no guides for this destination. However, she concludes “But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.”