At Young Friends we have many staff who are passionate about particular roles which help sustain an enriching environment for our team and families. It is the representatives’ responsibility to ensure that all these areas of focus are consistent throughout the nursery, creating an inviting environment and ensuring best practice. Our representatives and their responsibilities are as follows:
- Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDco) –This representative is responsible for providing guidance for the entire team, including management, with regards to any children who have or may need additional support and keeping all records of SEN children up to date. Our SEN coordinator is also responsible for liaising with outside agencies such as speech and language therapists, PRESENS (Jeanne Saunders Centre), health visitors and many more. For children whom the rep or team feel may need additional support, the SEN coordinator compiles observations, obtains consent from families, and makes referrals to PRESENS, our point of contact for SEN. Once needs are established, the SENCo will create support plans, incorporating any outside guidance plans, and share these with relevant persons such as keyworkers. The SENDco also attends regular network meetings to refresh his/her knowledge of proper procedure and best practice with regards to meeting SEN children’s needs. This representative will ensure that all those working with SEN children are displaying and implementing inclusive practice at all times.
- English as an Additional Language (EAL) – This representative works closely with the multicultural rep together ensuring all children with additional languages are included within the days’ activities and represented throughout the nursery. The EAL rep ensures that every group caters, in some way, to the languages of the children in their group from multi-lingual text around the room to incorporating languages into their group times for topics such as shapes, colours, etc. This representative also works with families to build Young Friends’ repertoire of multi-lingual songs and books, with families often letting us borrow from home for their child’s group.
- Healthy Eating – This representative is responsible for ensuring that healthy food activities are carried out throughout the nursery at least every two weeks. He/she keeps our healthy recipe book up to date with multicultural and nutrient rich recipes. This representative will research upcoming events that incorporate foods, such as religious festivals, and makes sure that all groups work a good variety of cooking activities into their planning. He/she also ensures that recipes include a good mix of cooking processes such as chopping, peeling, grating, etc. and covers a broad range of textures and tastes.
- Story Telling – The storytelling representative ensures that all groups engage in imaginative and engaging storytelling activities beyond just reading from books. He/she creates visual storytelling resources such as story bags and/or interactive storytelling walls and small world trays. This rep is also responsible for ensuring regular puppet shows occur throughout the nursery. He/she works closely with the library rep.
- Library/books – The library representative ensures all groups have age-appropriate and relevant selections of books in their rooms. He/she will make sure these are refreshed regularly and include a variety of fiction, non-fiction, periodicals, and handmade booklets. The book rep will also ensure that book selections are diverse, inclusive, and cover a wide range of social topics such as sharing, transitioning to school and death of loved ones. The library rep will organize trips to Hove library for each group to borrow books on relevant topics. The library rep determines a book of the month for groups to focus a variety of activities around, such as the Hungry Caterpillar to support storytelling skills. He/she works closely with the storytelling representative.
- Behaviour – This representative ensures consistency throughout the nursery with regards to dealing with children’s behavior. He/she creates visual resources, trains the team, and is a point of contact for any concerns regarding this topic. When persistent negative behaviors occur, the representative guides the team in formulating behavior plans with families and implementing consistent strategies to support the child with their behavior. The behavior representative will also determine if courses of action such as ABC (Antecedent, Behaviour, Consequence) reports, planned ignoring, etc. are necessary to support a child. This representative works closely with the SENDco rep and researches best practices with regards to ensuring children’s abilities are celebrated and their emotional well-being is high.
- Equalities – The equalities representative’s role is to ensure that practice is inclusive, diverse, and promotes the British values of democracy, liberty, rule of law, and mutual respect. This representative guides the team in steering away from stereotypes, gender norming, and modes of thinking or representation that limits the freedom of children’s expression and understanding of the world. The equalities rep also ensures that everyone in the nursery, from children to visitors, is treated respectfully regardless of their backgrounds and will challenge any negative or derisive attitudes towards others. This representative works closely with the Persona Doll, EAL, and SENDco representatives.
- MULTICULTURAL/CELEBRATIONS/EVENTS – This representative ensures that the nursery celebrates all cultural festivals, religious observances, and national celebrations/events from around the world from Thanksgiving (American) to Earth day (worldwide). His/her role includes communicating with families about upcoming events, informing the team about what these are and their significance, ensuring all groups incorporate these into their environment plans, and updating our multicultural/events file for future reference. With cultural events, we always defer to the knowledge of families as to how best to incorporate these into our planning and extend an invitation to them to spend time in the nursery to share these with us. In this regard, we’ve enjoyed traditional Bollywood dancing, homemade food, and celebrated a wonderful variety of Christmas traditions from England to Iceland.
- PERSONA DOLLS – Our persona doll representative ensures that our two persona dolls are used regularly in their respective rooms. He/she will either create, or help the team create, back stories for each persona doll that will foster discussion and support children’s sense of empathy. This representative will go on regular network meetings to exchange one of the Persona Dolls and create a new character for it. He/she is responsible for ensuring that their visits with children are regular, stories relevant to their social needs and experiences, and represent a diverse cross section of families, backgrounds, cultural identities, abilities, etc.