Using the Key Person approach in my Setting:

The Key Person is the person who liaises with parents over the child’s care and development.

Your child will be allocated me as their Key Person either just before admission or once they have settled in.
It is based on my availability to take on a new family, if the child becomes naturally close to me, existing family affiliations, and practicalities.

The following is an extract from the Early Years Foundation Stage effective practice:

What the Key Person role means
For the baby or young child:
The key person makes sure that, within the day-to-day demands of the setting, each child for whom they have special responsibility feels individual, cherished and thought about by someone in particular while they are away from home.
For parents and close carers at home:
The key person ensures they have the opportunity to build a personal relationship with individual children rather than all children as a group in the setting. The benefits are likely to be peace of mind for parents, and the possibility for them to build a partnership with professional staff who may share with them the pleasures and stresses of child rearing. It provides an opportunity for them to liaise with someone else who loves their baby or child too. Sometimes parents speak about having to choose between being part of their child’s day, and knowing the details of how she or he spends time. The key person can make sure that parents do know about their child’s day and do not have to miss out.
For the key person:
The key person approach is intense, involving hard work and a big professional and emotional commitment. However, the benefits of being and becoming a key person are that you really matter to a child and to their family. You are likely to have a powerful impact on the child’s well-being, their mental health, and their opportunities to think and learn. These powers and responsibilities will bring feelings of pleasure and pain, the joys and relief of partings and reunions and the satisfactions and anxieties of being the key person in a child’s formative early years.
For the setting:
The key person approach also has benefits for the early years setting as an organisation, making staff feel more satisfied and engaged, providing better care and learning for the children and their parents. Parents are likely to develop a more trusting confidence in the competencies, qualities and devotion of professional staff. There are indications that this approach reduces staff sickness and absence and develops involvement and positive attitudes to professional development within staff teams.
Some concerns:
The key person approach does not mean that attachments with parents will be undermined. This concern seems to be based on the idea that there is a fixed amount of attachment to go round and if children have more of it in the setting, there is bound to be less at home. In fact, it seems to work the other way round: attachments at home and in the early years setting can support each other.
The key person approach does not mean that the key person should be with their key children all the time. No parent does that and children need, and of course benefit from, interactions with other adults and children in the early years setting.
The key person approach does not mean that children are not allowed to make close relationships with other adults. Children often choose who they want to be attached to and these choices should be respected. Exactly how children and the key person are linked needs careful thought in the early years setting.

Reviewed by Louise Lawson Feb 2023

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