About Dolphins Childcare Centre

Dolphins Childcare Centre is a privately owned business operating in their own premises on the grounds of North Petherton Community Primary School. Dolphins leases the land from Somerset County Council (the lease is granted from the Dfe)

The setting has been operating for 15 years. It is open from Monday to Friday from 7.30am till 6.00pm and operates for 51 weeks of the year. It is able to care for 64 children during each session. The centre operates a Nursery Room for children aged 10 months to 2 years of age – a Toddler Room, for children aged between 2 and 3 years of age – a Pre-School Room for children aged between 3 and 4 years of age. The centre also operates Out of School Care through our Breakfast and After School Clubs.

Each of our 3 classrooms has it’s own private Garden Area, incorporating bright soft-play tarmac and artificial grass sections. We also have a dedicated Forest School Area, Outside Sensory Classroom, Indoor Sensory Room and a Calm Room for all to enjoy. All of our building and garden areas are wheelchair accessible.

The school allow us to us their large playing field, playgrounds, sensory garden and reception class play areas (pre-school children only).

Staff at the Centre promote a communication friendly environment. Somerset Total Communication is used throughout the whole setting and with all children (and is promoted at all times). Photo Choice cards are available for children to select activities. Our Now and Next Boards (and photo’s) offer the children the sense of routine and expectations. Our Visual Timetables allow children to understand how the session will run. Our How Am I Feeling Today photo board allows children the ability to show how they are feeling. Photo’s on all activity boxes allow the children to see clearly it’s contents. Some areas within the classrooms are clearly defined into it’s activity area. There are ‘Can I have a…’ boards where children are able to ask/point if they would like a eg: drink, snack, hug ect’. All staff wear picture Key Fobs and use objects of reference.

The Childcare Centre has a nominated Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENco) who is responsible for ensuring every child’s individual needs are met. They will work with Parents/Carers, Staff and any outside agencies involved in meeting the child’s needs – ensuring children’s learning is monitored and reviewed.

The named SENco at the Centre is – DIANE DONALD

Starting at Dolphins Childcare Centre

When a child starts at the centre, they are allocated a Key Worker, who will gather as much information from Parents/Carers about their child, including their likes and interests, skills and abilities, preferred ways to communicate and their daily home routines as well as any dislikes (Getting to Know You forms). The Key Person is the Parents main point of contact and is responsible for carrying out their child’s learning journey and development through varying observations and through planning opportunities and experiences. This enables the Key Worker to track the child’s development. Key Workers are responsible for inputting information onto the child’s on-line journal – Tapestry and to respond to Parents input. Parents are required to complete a What to Expect When booklet (which enables Key Workers to gain knowledge of each child’s base of learning)

If a child is starting the setting with identified specific needs, then an entry meeting will be arranged with the Parents/Carers, SENco and where possible, the new Key Worker. This will be the first opportunity for Parents/Carers to highlight children’s strengths, areas of need and relevant agencies supporting their family. An action plan will then be put into place to support the child to settle into the setting with confidence and trust and ensure their needs are met. All necessary consents will be collected to ensure the Parents/Carers have full knowledge of all agencies that will be involved ( Early Help Assessment). It will also highlight if any further training for staff is needed or if an application for funding is required (this may be to purchase equipment, training needs or for extra staff – 1-2-1 ratio’s)

Home Visits may take place for those children requiring Individual Educational Plans – this will further gather the knowledge and understanding needed to fully implement the care and requirements needed.

For children who have dietary or medical needs, a Health Care Plan will be completed during the child’s initial visit, so all staff involved in the child’s care are fully aware of needs and procedures. For complex medical needs, an Entry Plan meeting would be arranged to ensure adequate facilities, resources and training are in place – ready for the child to start. These are all regularly reviewed with Parents/Carers to ensure information is up to date and accurate.

Monitoring a Child’s Development

There are several opportunities throughout the year for Parents/Carers to meet with their child’s Key Worker to discuss their progress; however, if a Parent/Carer is concerned at any time about their child they can request a separate meeting.

Children learn in different ways and at different rates, and the Centre will ensure activities are suitably tailored to meet children’s individual needs and styles. Staff will assess and review children’s development regularly. This includes termly observations, carrying out tailored activities for that child, collecting photographic and video evidence of children’s achievements, and using visual progress trackers to monitor areas of need/strength. The Key Worker will also carry out a statutory development check with children aged between 2 and 3 years of age. This will be shared with Parents and the local Health Visiting team. However, if through observations, progress checks etc and with discussions with Parents/Carers, a Key Worker is concerned about a child’s development or progress, they will immediately inform the SENco. The SENco and Key Worker will discuss these concerns with Parents/Carers, and jointly collect and review further evidence. Our Early Intervention Toolkit will address targeted activities for that child will be put into place by the setting, set up by the SENco and carried out by the child’s Key Worker, which will aim to encourage progression. These may be in the form of Small Group work (such as our Communication Friendly groups), or done on an individual basis. If after review from Parents, Key Worker and SENco it has been found progression has not been made, the Centre would seek advice from relevant outside agencies. These include – Health Visitors, Therapists (speech & language, occupational or physio) or a member of County Council Early Years support team (known as Early Years SENco’s). This will not be done without prior consent from Parents/Carers (Early Help Assessment)

Available Support

The SENco has up to date and relevant training, supporting children with additional, medical and complex needs. This includes supporting children with social communication needs, sensory processing difficulties, epilepsy and tonic-clonic seizures and allergies. They also have strong links with outside agencies such as Speech & Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Impairment and Medical Support team, Portage and Educational Psychologists, Health Visitors and Area Early Years SENco. This ensures all relevant agencies are working collaboratively to ensure individual children’s needs are met and involve termly updates (or sooner, if necessary) to discuss progress and set new individual targets to work towards. The SENco also receives support through regular meetings with the area SENco , and keeps her updated of any children the Centre is supporting or has concerns about.

Children’s prescribed medication is kept in a secure cabinet in the Office, along with their completed Health Care Plan. The Proprietors/ SENco and Supervisors all have access to this cabinet, and ALL staff are aware of and trained in necessary medical procedures for that child.

Transition to a New Setting

Once a school place has been confirmed, the school will invite everyone who works with and supports the child to a School Entry Plan meeting (SEP). This ensures the school are fully aware of all current supporting plans from agencies and strategies used by the centre. An action plan will then be put into place to ensure the transition to school is as smooth as possible, and the setting will fully support this.

This will also be the case if a child leaves to join another setting, an entry plan meeting will be arranged for the new setting – to ensure all plans are passed on as fully as possible.

If you require any further information or would like to arrange a visit to the Centre, please contact

DIANE DONALD
01278-661333
dolphinscc@btconnect.com