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Hi everyone, I am a foundation leader in a school and we also have a Pre-school. I am going to start introducing home visits for the children about to join pre-school. Does anyone have any advice to offer, or experiences to share? I am looking for practical advice, such as how do you arrange times and dates with parents and what do you cover when you are there and how long do they last? But also advice about how to approach them, any issues or problems that we may encounter.

Thank you for any words of wisdom!

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I'm not sure about pre-school home visits as I do them when they come into year R but we allow half an hour for each one but includes getting to the next one as well. We first of all ask if there is anything the parents want to discuss as this is the most important thing. We also would find out about the family - siblings etc.. favourite toys/games, friends who are coming to school with them, how well they separate from the parent/carer, toileting, getting dressed, medical problems etc... I hope that is of some help to you :o

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Hi there!

We've been doing home visits for 3 years now and they are an invaluable part of the transition process. I try to make the visits as informal as possible and ensure that they are relaxed and friendly. Every parent (and child!) is different so I don't have an exact plan! I do try to take a book from school to share with the child (which they can keep at home and return when the school taster sessions begin.) I also take a game with me which is great to get out if things get a little stagnant! Mainly I play it by ear - sometimes the children just want to show you around and delight in giving you a guided tour of all they own and sometimes it's the parent who needs to chat. I had one parent who dashed upstairs to get out a box of dresses her daughter had worn as a baby closely followed by the proud dad who had a photo album of baby piccies tucked under his arm!

Each visit normally lasts for half an hour but ensure you build travelling time into your day (We've been very lost before now!). Overall, enjoy it - it's a great way to begin to build important relationships with the families who will be in your class.

Hope that helps x :o

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I've been doing home visits prior to children starting at Pre school for the last 4 years or so. The parents have always been happy for me to visit and I try to explain beforehand that it's just to make it easier for us to talk and go through any paperwork in a more relaxed atmosphere than a hectic visit to Pre School (which of course they will have done as well).

 

Generally the children love to show you their toys and I do try to play with the child although sometimes the parents get them to play in another room so we can have some peace! I think if the child remembers you coming to their house and being 'friends' with their mum/dad then they settle better when they start Pre School.

 

I go through the suggested topics on the Nursery profile eg previous experiences, toileting, health, favourite activities etc but we often just have a good chat - I often stay up to an hour. I think it reassures the parents to get to know me a bit better and we rarely have any problems with a child not settling on their first day.

 

It's one of the best bits of my job and one of the most important.

 

Jo

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Hi Georgeinic and welcome.

 

We had a policy not to go alone and not to partake of refreshments although I know some people find this an important part of the process. It is very tiring, and depending on the nature of your catchment area can be quite emotional.

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Hi there

We introduced this at the end of last year. At registration we ask parents/carers if they would like a home visit prior to the child starting. Take-up has been low so far, but we expect it to increase slowly. Two people always go together, which means arranging for plenty of cover. I personally think it is a great way to begin building a relationship with parents. On the other hand, some people might feel it is slightly intrusive, so it's fair to give them the choice.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Lesley :o

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Hi everyone, I am a foundation leader in a school and we also have a Pre-school. I am going to start introducing home visits for the children about to join pre-school. Does anyone have any advice to offer, or experiences to share? I am looking for practical advice, such as how do you arrange times and dates with parents and what do you cover when you are there and how long do they last? But also advice about how to approach them, any issues or problems that we may encounter.

Thank you for any words of wisdom!

 

Hi Mrs L,

We used to do home visits for new starters in our school nursery. I thought they were SO important! It gave us insight into our famillies home lives and I felt it helped so much in building our relationships with them. However we found it impossible to keep it going mainly due to staffing issues. I wish we could introduce them again. xD

One member of staff would be out all morning/afternoon which meant we were short staffed in nursery. As we were not allowed to go alone our parent support advisor would come with us, which was a great idea but this meant she was not available for her role in school.

When planning for home visits you need to allow time between each one for travelling and a bit extra incase you end up staying at one house longer. We generally allowed around 20mins per visit but it's important to keep an eye on your watch! We walked the home visits but it would have been much easier in a car. You need to have business use insurance on your car for this. We took our school forms that needed to be filled in during the visit and our 'This is me' child details information forms. It would also be nice to take photographs of the nursery so the child/family could see what it's like before their first day. We also took paper and crayons so they could draw us a picture while we were there.

We would inform them of our visit by letter with a brief outline of what we would be doing, at the end of the letter you could ask them to ring school to confirm that the time is convenient. It really messes things up if you go to a house and there is nobody in!

It's also a good idea to have ID cards for your staff who will be doing the visits. I personally didn't have one but our parent support advisor did so you must be able to get them through the council(?). A mobile phone is a good idea too.

Hope this is helpful. :o

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we started doing home visits this year and have found them really helpful as well as enjoyable. myself as manager and the key person go to each visit, whilst I chat to parents and complete the registration form the key person plays with the child. The keyperson always takes along a photo album with pictures of the pre-school as well as a selection of toys and crayons and paper she will also take a photograph of the child. We then display the photo and drawing the child did at visit on our new starters board. i have found that I have got a lot more information from parents from visits, as often before when parents had just filled out registration forms they had missed of vital information that they didn't feel relevant. We have really noticed a difference in how quickly children have settled since we started home visits too and parents also seem to feel more confident leaving their children. We always leave details of where we are going with other staff, take a mobile and advise staff to call if we're not back in an hour as a security measure.

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Hi!

 

I am hope I am doing this right and that you can all read it! My first time on here and I can't seem to start my own post...any tips? I am about to embark on my home visits in a couple of weeks and really do feel they are beneficial to the staff, children and parents...the relaxed chat you have at the child's home often results in the parent opening up with more information about their child which they probably would never have thought of if only filling out a form. Myself and the TA who will be working in the class are carrying out the home visits and we have decided to take a box of games/books with us so that when the children start their half day visits they will see familair activities etc. I also take some paper work with me to find out about the children's interests etc...I am also looking to update the current format as it is very bland and not very child friendly...does anyone have any ideas where I could find some inspriation for a new one? All in all I find home visits provide a wealth of information about the new cohort and alo provide a little bit of understanding about the child's homelife which is invaluable whn developing strategies to deal with each individual child.

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Hi!

 

I am hope I am doing this right and that you can all read it! My first time on here and I can't seem to start my own post...any tips? I am about to embark on my home visits in a couple of weeks and really do feel they are beneficial to the staff, children and parents...the relaxed chat you have at the child's home often results in the parent opening up with more information about their child which they probably would never have thought of if only filling out a form. Myself and the TA who will be working in the class are carrying out the home visits and we have decided to take a box of games/books with us so that when the children start their half day visits they will see familair activities etc. I also take some paper work with me to find out about the children's interests etc...I am also looking to update the current format as it is very bland and not very child friendly...does anyone have any ideas where I could find some inspriation for a new one? All in all I find home visits provide a wealth of information about the new cohort and alo provide a little bit of understanding about the child's homelife which is invaluable whn developing strategies to deal with each individual child.

 

Hi and welcome to the forum Lizzybee. xD

 

In terms of starting your own post, you might find Steve's Forum Tips and Tricks useful to read. Well done at managing to reply to a topic though! :o

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Hi, my daughters nursery had an open day at school during the summer term and we were given an 'all about me' questionairre to complete which would be collected during the home visit. Before we left the open day we were asked to choose a day and time slot for a visit and they were done during the first week of the new school year as they delayed the children starting nursery until the second week which is a good idea if the head allows it. The home visit was an informal chat and lasted about 20 minutes or so.

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I have been doing home visits for a few years now. We usually arrange them with parents at the open day in July, where we give the parents information booklets with policies and procedures in (e.g H&S, sickness policy). So we don't have to talk about these during the visit and can concentrate on the child. We also give an appointment card, so they don't forget. I have rarely come across parents who don't want a home visit.

 

Once arranged, we go teacher/ manager and key worker in the inset days in September (we always telephone beforehand)

 

I have atached some of the documents we use, plus a home visit format, which is basically what we do at the visit.

 

I would allow about 30 minutes per visit, and if you don't get through the child's starting booklet, leave it with the parent to bring in on the first day.

 

We found leaving a story book for the child to return on their first day a good idea, to give them a 'sense of belonging'.

 

I haven't attached the development questions as they need revamping, but basically we ask the parents to answer a few question based on the development matters of the EYFS and use these as the children's starting points for their development records.

 

I was a pre-school manager, but now work in a school nursery, we used the same documents for the pre-school and the school and they seem to work well in getting to know the children and providing some starting points.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

home_visit_format.doc

first_day.doc

child_booklet_cover_letter.doc

likes_dislikes_needs.docx

My_week.doc

special_people.docx

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Thank you for the documents millhill, very useful! And thanks jollmojo for the idea of doing them in the first week and the children starting second week, great idea!

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the idea of doing them in the first week and the children starting second week, great idea

 

We are going to use this structure for introducing home visits in September, however I read a post (on TES I think) about a setting that does home visits every Friday for the first half term. They visit the children that will be starting the following Monday. This seems more child friendly to me and less stressful for the staff. If we visit the first week in September and the child is not due to start until mid October thats a long time for a young child so how relevant is it? A full weeks is also very tiring at first so to have the first half term only 4 days would also benefit the ones already admitted. I'm keen to try Friday visits as I see more value coming from the visits we do for the setting and child.

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