Supporting children with English as an additional language:
Young Friends is committed to providing equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice for all children and families. We are proud to have a diverse population of both staff and families and incorporate this wide range of cultures/ethnicities into nursery life.
Right from the off at Young Friends, each new family provides details of any languages spoken at home, ethnicities in the family and any special occasions/festivals celebrated throughout the year at home. These are noted by the room staff and incorporated into planned activities, trips and group times.
The languages of all of our children are used every day in lots of different ways to make each child feels special and included; For example there are consistently updated signs and labels for nursery resources in each language of the children in that group at that time. This is a great way of encouraging the staff to use the words out loud and also to enable the children to begin to see and recognise words and symbols. Each group time area has a list of greetings in each language of the children in that group and these are used to welcome the children each morning. There is also a list of the numbers 1-10 in each so that the children practice counting in a wide range of languages.
Interacting with children in their own language and showing a shared knowledge is a very powerful tool that Young Friends uses consistently and well for making them feel settled, unique and special. It is also a great way for children with English as their first language to learn new words and cultures and for enhancing relationships with families and friends of our children.
The people responsible for making sure it all works:
We have a Special Educational Needs Co-coordinator (SENCO) and an EAL Representative in the nursery who are both passionate about what they do. They ensure that children with English as their second language receive the same opportunities to fulfill their potential during their time at Young Friends as those with English as their first.
The rest of the team know a lot too – they receive information and in-house training from our representatives and management on the best ways to help children learn, understand and feel safe and secure. This includes the different stages of developing English as a second language and the best ways to support and enhance this learning.
All groups use effective visual time tables which provide visual information of the daily routine of the group. This is really useful for easing transitions and the potential anxiety that can understandably arise. Where children are over 3 and have English as an additional language, we contact the EMAS (Ethnic Minority Achievement Service) Council team who can send over support workers to help translate and encourage interaction. These visits are so helpful and important for the children’s development and the staff can receive valuable and insightful advice from the experts.
We also encourage and support diversity within the nursery by displaying positive cultural images on the walls of each room, celebrating different multicultural occasions throughout the year and by discussing various topics at group times. We actively encourage parents to come into nursery and share about their culture with the children as this is a great way of giving first hand experiences to them. This has taken the form of songs, stories, cooking activities and arts and craft. This February we held an entire Around The World Week when we were flooded with amazing input from our families (please see related blog on this sight for all the fantastic pictures and text).
Supporting special educational needs and inclusive practice:
The role of our nursery SENCO is to keep records of all children who require and receive extra support. The SENCO, the child’s key person and the parents/carers all work closely together to create Individual Education Plans and put any necessary actions in place to provide the best possible care and support for their child. Each child is treated as an individual and their own weekly interests and developmental next steps are incorporated into weekly planning. The staff differentiate their activities to allow each individual child the chance to not only access them but to actively challenge themselves and achieve. This is made possible by all key people having detailed knowledge of their children’s development in each o the 7 areas and identifying possible needs or challenges.