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Hi, we are a nursery school established for 30 years and are just about to embark on home visits for our children. A third of parents have taken up the offer and it has taken me 2 years as a new staff member to pursuade staff to give it a go.

HAs anyone any advice to offer. We will visit in pairs, a teacher and nursery nurse (there are three teachers three nursery nurses so we will have planty of time in the first week to visit those that have requested) The safety aspect has been covered with our lone worker policy but the detail is still being worked on. Would appreciate advice on what has been tried, what works well, etc.

 

looking forward to your replies.

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In one setting I worked in we used to take a bag of toys and 1 of us (usually always the child's key person) would play with the child while the 2nd person spoke with the carer, this is when all of the regulatory forms were completed. We also always made sure we could get out if necessary (so had a clear view of any doors!), always reversed the car into parking spaces and used a hand gel when we came out. I have to say we were visiting in quite deprived areas of a large city, but sensible precautions nevertheless!!

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Hi Sue,

 

We have been doing home visits for about three years now and they have really made a difference to how the children settle in. We go in pairs (with one being the child's key worker). The key worker talks to the child about their favourite toys and what they think nursery will be like and the other member of staff talks to the parent/carer about any concerns they may have. We go through the forms that need filling in and explain what each of them means. Then we leave them for them to sign and bring back when they come to nursery. We also leave an all about me booklet for them to complete.

 

This time we are going to take a sheet which will outline what was discussed, whether anyone (child or parent) seems anxious/confident etc, whether there are any worries, what the parent expects from nursery etc.. Just a general observation of the visit and we will have a section in the learning journeys about the home visit.

 

Hope this helps a bit.

 

BTW we just inform the parents that we do home visits rather than asking them if they want a visit. We outline that it is for the benefit of the child. We visit all homes unless families are on holiday or unless they transfer from another nursery during term time. There has only been a couple of families that we have not visited since we started doing the visits.

 

Sue

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We had a policy of not accepting refreshments. Otherwise we might have been there all day!!!

 

Also as most of the families were not native English speakers, I as the teacher conducted the visit and my NN who was a community language speaker interpreted as necessary. We both engaged with parents and children. I also used to take a simple colouring sheet selection and ask the child to choose one and bring it with them when they came to school. Instant display, giving children ownership!!

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Hi and welcome to the forum. I haven't much to add as reception teacher I only accompany the nursery teacher if the NN isn't available. We take a bag of goodies and leave a book for the child to bring with them on their first visit to the setting.

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we also take along some photos of nursery provision areas/equipment - construction, home/role play areas, painting easel, computer area etc - to show to the child. This enables us to get an idea of their interests and provide a link - 'this is what you will see when you come to nursery' etc.

 

I also treat the home visit as the first observation of the child - it is 'their patch' after all! I make mental notes whilst the child is playing, talking and interacting - if they are not communicative/'natural' in their own home I would want to know why. My other colleague will talk to parent/carer whilst I play with and observe the child. I will observe language skills in first language if the child does not have English as a first language - you can tell whether the child speaks in sentences or just words, short phrases.

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We haven't done home visits (and still don't, in the main). However I did do a home visit before a child joined us who was going to need individual support and really saw the benefits - the child still talks about when I visited and I learned so much about both child and family. It really helped me to understand the family dynamic and put in place a strong foundation for the group's relationship with the whole family. Setting up home visits is on my 'to do' list - but hasn't got to the top yet! :o

 

I would certainly have refused a home visit when my children joined nursery. Actually that's probably wrong - I would have agreed reluctantly and then embarked on a period of furious housework before allowing anyone through the front door! However I have to say that it would have worried me no end - the sense of foreboding about someone coming in to look at me and my child (and the fear that my parenting skills would be judged inadequate) would have made it impossible for me to relax. That said, if the supervisor of my group had seen me at home and realised how difficult I was finding life, perhaps she might have been able to sensitively point me towards some support rather than having my to work through it all myself in isolation.

 

So in terms of offering home visits for the families I work with I'm a bit divided in my opinion: professionally I understand how important and valuable they are, but I understand the barriers only too well.

 

Maz

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Welcome suebold, :( My home visits were similar to those described, although must admit I was a bit more relaxed about safe person policy.

I found them very successful interms of children settling in and forming initial relationships with the parents. The children would even recall the visit "when you came to my house...... sometimes over a year later, showing how significant they were to them. I did find that sometimes a child would eagerly invite me into their bedroom to 'show me their toys' this had to be handled sensitively, ie can they bring one out to show me.

 

I can understand Maz's description of barriers, but I do think that home visits are becoming more the 'norm' now, and I have found that some parents were expecting it ( having had friends experience the same).

 

I explained benefits of home visits, saying on receipt of request for a place the parent would be contacted to make a date for the visit, with the option of declining on my 'request for registration' form.

I've also found that it helps with learning each parents geographical position in relation to preschool & other parents, physically visiting the homes. I have linked near neighbour parents through having this knowledge.

 

As this is a new venture, and well done for persisting with your idea, maybe consider devising a home visit policy, to be reviewed once visits have been completed. :o ( I know, yet another policy, but this could actually be useful xD ) .

 

Good luck, let us know how it goes, any benefits, considerations from your experiences.

 

Peggy

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I remember a friend of mine phoning me a few years ago, she was very worried that the reception teacher from her son's new school had called making an appointment for a home visit. "What are they looking for?" was her exact question to me. :o

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Hi

 

As a Children's Nurse now setting up my own nursery, our colleagues in the Health Service undertake all their practice in the home setting if they are a Paediatric Community Nurse or Health Visitor and it works fine. The challenge is being comfortable with changes in boundaries and territorality. I intend to implement home visits as the norm from day one.

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hi there & welcome to the forum. You have joined a great team (I've already had enormous support & only been a member for a few days).

 

I have little more to add but want to say that I found them extremely useful. I started doing them 2 years ago & yes we went in pairs, armed with their paperwork, the child's 'All About Me' , notebook & pen. 1 of us would play with the child whilst the other chatted to mum/dad & anyone else who happened to be present. I helped with paperwork when necessary & generally started to find some common ground between me and (usually) mum. I do think it's mostly about relationships. If a parent/carer wasn't keen to have a visit it wouldn't be a problem.

 

We started doing home visits when we had an asylum seeker family referred to us. It was sooo helpful because, we arrived with pre-concieved ideas about what their home life would be like & were fundamentally wrong!! We learnt a lot of lessons from that visit. At a later date we had another family who were on C.P whom we had visited at home prior to them being put on the register. It was interesting how so many pieces fitted into the jigsaw afterwards. We work with families from all different backgrounds & circumstances & rich or poor in every sense, the visits have helped us to identify needs & how we can meet those needs. I really hope you find this of some use. It's a great experience & really helps to form bonds between us and the families we work with. good luck xx

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  • 3 weeks later...
In one setting I worked in we used to take a bag of toys and 1 of us (usually always the child's key person) would play with the child while the 2nd person spoke with the carer, this is when all of the regulatory forms were completed. We also always made sure we could get out if necessary (so had a clear view of any doors!), always reversed the car into parking spaces and used a hand gel when we came out. I have to say we were visiting in quite deprived areas of a large city, but sensible precautions nevertheless!!

 

what toys did you take, I am thinking of starting home visits so would welcome and advice thank you

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I have to say that on the whole I am against home visits. recently we had a visit from an early years advisor who was trying to push home visits.

I don't get any time to visit pre-schools and have to do this in my PPA so to do home visits would be a nightmare. My advisor said that she used to do it on weekends and holidays - maybe that is why she doesn't teach anymore1 I have a family and appreciate spending time with them thanks very much!

Also I would not like a practioner to vist my house and this would make me feel very uncomfortable. Having spoken to others they also agree and would rather the chidlren start pre-school or school on the first day rather than have a visit. I do visit pre-schools but then that is very different from the home

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Hi

I have taught in Nursery and Reception in three different schools and home-visits have been standard practice in all three so I guess I just accepted them as the norm. I have found them extremely beneficial for establishing relationships with parents and children. It is an excellent opportunity for observing how the child behaves with their parents in their own territory. The children love them too and still say "you came to my house" months after the event! I think that if the child sees you welcomed into thier home by their parent then they think you must be ok and they then feel better about spending time with you at school without their parent there.

 

I have always done them with a nursery nurse and taken a box of toys and books from the classroom. One of us sits with the child and plays with/talks to them while the other sits down with the parent and goes through all of the paperwork. It's a good opportunity to make sure the parent really understands the rules and routines and gives them time to ask questions which they may not have wanted to ask at a parent's meeting.

 

Currently our nursery staff do their home-visits every friday up until October half-term when all of the children are in. Nursery therefore only runs for four days a week during this period. They visit the six children who will be starting the following monday (3 am, 3 pm) so that the visit is still fresh in everyone's minds. At previous schools I have done all of the home-visits in the first week of term and then found it hard to remember who was who when they started weeks later!

 

In Reception we only offer home-visits to children who have not attended our nursery. This is usually only a small number so can be fitted in in the first few days of term before Reception start.

 

I can see how some people would not like the idea of home-visits but I have found them so useful and would definitely have one for my little girl before she starts nursery!

 

Hope this is helpful.

Flutterby

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Killowengirl, we just take a range of toys from around the room. For example a couple of books, a puzzle, a few cars and animals and maybe some puppets. We take different toys each week and then these toys are put out the following monday when those children start. Works well if the children want to keep the toys and we can say "Well, you can play with them when you come to Nursery next week!"

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Our nursery has never done home visits and I really am not sure that the parents would take too well to us doing them.

I am divided about the benefits and the practicalities.

 

On a personal front I don't think I would have wanted to have visits from my children's nursery teachers....

 

Then again I think my bad experience with the health visitor I had after my first baby could have put me off visits from professionals!!!!!!!

 

I think we would give parents the opportunity to say no to a visit if we were going to do them but I feel the families we might really need to see would be the ones who wouldn't want us to be in their homes!!

 

Ah well..........

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Killowengirl, we just take a range of toys from around the room. For example a couple of books, a puzzle, a few cars and animals and maybe some puppets. We take different toys each week and then these toys are put out the following monday when those children start. Works well if the children want to keep the toys and we can say "Well, you can play with them when you come to Nursery next week!"

 

thank you very much I apprecite the reply. i have just started to do home visits and do find them beneficial for exactly the reasons you gave, the children do seem to love showing off their home and toys and reminding you that you went to their home. thank you very muck

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hi there & welcome to the forum. You have joined a great team (I've already had enormous support & only been a member for a few days).

 

I have little more to add but want to say that I found them extremely useful. I started doing them 2 years ago & yes we went in pairs, armed with their paperwork, the child's 'All About Me' , notebook & pen. 1 of us would play with the child whilst the other chatted to mum/dad & anyone else who happened to be present. I helped with paperwork when necessary & generally started to find some common ground between me and (usually) mum. I do think it's mostly about relationships. If a parent/carer wasn't keen to have a visit it wouldn't be a problem.

 

We started doing home visits when we had an asylum seeker family referred to us. It was sooo helpful because, we arrived with pre-concieved ideas about what their home life would be like & were fundamentally wrong!! We learnt a lot of lessons from that visit. At a later date we had another family who were on C.P whom we had visited at home prior to them being put on the register. It was interesting how so many pieces fitted into the jigsaw afterwards. We work with families from all different backgrounds & circumstances & rich or poor in every sense, the visits have helped us to identify needs & how we can meet those needs. I really hope you find this of some use. It's a great experience & really helps to form bonds between us and the families we work with. good luck xx

Hi,

My Teaching assistant offer home visits for all the new Reception children in our class and at the new parents meeting we stressed that we were not coming to check up on anyone nor did we expect parents to spend ages tidying up or making cakes etc for us. But we stressed how it really helped us to learn more about the children and that when they referred to animals, brothers, sisters, parents etc in school we could link in far more quickly if we had actually seen them at home. So from 2 parents who had asked for home visits we now have 17 to do in the space of 2 days but it will be worth it. We always make sure we take a mobile phone with us and make sure we leave a clear list; of what time we are visiting each parent and where they live; in the office at school.

I usually complete paperwork while my TA talks with the children and then we swap for a bit. I also take a list of points I want to discuss with me as by the time you get to the 10th parent you can forget what you have said.

 

Good luck and wlecome to the forum which is a great support network in so many different ways

Nicky Sussex xD:(:(:o

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Hi,

My Teaching assistant offer home visits for all the new Reception children in our class and at the new parents meeting we stressed that we were not coming to check up on anyone nor did we expect parents to spend ages tidying up or making cakes etc for us. But we stressed how it really helped us to learn more about the children and that when they referred to animals, brothers, sisters, parents etc in school we could link in far more quickly if we had actually seen them at home. So from 2 parents who had asked for home visits we now have 17 to do in the space of 2 days but it will be worth it. We always make sure we take a mobile phone with us and make sure we leave a clear list; of what time we are visiting each parent and where they live; in the office at school.

I usually complete paperwork while my TA talks with the children and then we swap for a bit. I also take a list of points I want to discuss with me as by the time you get to the 10th parent you can forget what you have said.

 

Good luck and wlecome to the forum which is a great support network in so many different ways

Nicky Sussex :(:(:(xD

Further to my post above, we always go in a pair. The class teacher(me) and my teaching assistant. We are very lucky in that we are given the first 3 days of term to visit or meet all parents and children and although it's tiring it's well worth it as we learn so much and also can reassure those parents who have any worries or concerns whihc they may not want to discuss in our new parent meeting where they may not know the other parents.

Let us know how you get on

Nicky Sussex :wacko: :o

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