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Key Person Approach


Tiddlywinks Pre School has a commitment to the key person approach of childcare.  This means that our organisation and deployment of staff is centred around enabling close attachments to be made between individual children, their families and individual staff.

The nursery places the child’s needs at the centre of the approach but also recognises the entitlements and expectations for others involved i.e. the families, key staff,  buddies and the Supervisor.

These are recognised as follows:

The Child

  • To have the key person available during settling-in visits and as much as possible during ongoing sessions

  • To have a flexible and supported induction period that is sensitive to their individual needs

  • To be ‘held in mind’ by their key person (or buddy) during their time at nursery

  • To have a key person who fosters their sense of belonging within the key group and the nursery as a whole

  • To have a key person who really gets to know them and their family and celebrates and facilitates their individual needs, interests and development

  • To know what happens when their key person is away, to still feel special to someone and not have their care compromised

  • To have the opportunity to make a secure attachment with their key person which will support their security, independence and overall well being


The Family

  • To be provided with information and literature about the key person approach and the reasons for its implementation

  • To understand the reciprocal relationship between themselves and the key person/buddy and ways in which this is fostered e.g. daily communication, diaries, shared observations, meetings etc.

  • To have their culture, heritage and family values respected and actively represented to develop their own sense of belonging in the nursery

  • To be kept continually updated about information regarding their child

  • To be informed in advance, when possible, if the key person will be away so that they can prepare their child and to understand what will happen in the key person’s absence

  • To be informed in advance about a change in key person, due to changing of rooms or staff changes


The Key Person

  • To feel supported by their buddy, particularly during times of settling-in new children

  • To receive on-going support from their senior and supervisor  and to have opportunities to discuss and problem solve the challenges of their role

  • To have regular contributions from the parents on the children’s interests and learning at home to help inform their planning


The Buddy (in addition to key person entitlements)

  • To be provided with adequate information by the key person to ensure continuation of a high standard of care for the children in the absence of their special person

  • To have the support of other team members if necessary when  carrying out both a key person and buddy role and to be able to ask for help if needed

  • To be introduced to the their buddy’s new key child and their parent/s on the first visit to aid the start of the buddy relationship


The Supervisor

  • To have staff who are motivated and committed to the KPA and willing to attend on-going support and training

  • To receive personal guidance and on-going support from other professionals e.g. Early Years Team

  • To work in partnership with families and have their support in making the KPA successful



The nursery recognises the challenges involved in ensuring the KPA works as effectively as possible and that it requires a whole team approach to achieve this.  Wherever possible the key person and/or buddy are available for the child but there may be times when this is not possible to happen.  During these times ratios will always be maintained and other staff who the child is familiar with will take on the key person role.

The nursery is committed to continually evaluating its KPA practice, managing changes and transitions as sensitively as possible and ensuring each child feels special and has the opportunity to develop an attachment.

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