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I am taking over a maintained nursery class in September and went to visit last week. I asked them about how they manage the key person approrach (which I am currently operating and understand well) and they told me that they run key worker groups-not key person groups. Basically they have the chn in 3 groups and each adult has 1 group each which they work with, carry out observations for etc. The main difference from true key workers is that they swap groups around the adults each week. What do people think about this? Do others work in this way? I am unsure whether I want to keep this set up or change it- would value any input!

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I'm not in maintained but I can see pros and cons with this. The obvious con is that the keyperson relationship with their children isn't allowed to develop. On the other hand it does help if a staff member has a less than satisfactory relationship with a child, but I do think there are other ways of handling this depending on the issues around that. I'd be interested to see what others think as I have problems with my staff forming the relationships in some cases and I'm currently working on how to tackle that.

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It sounds at first read-through a very bizarre way of doing things. We have Key Person groups, defined by colour, for instance I have Blue Group, so if I call out "Blue Group come and ...." whatever, they all come. This means they are familiar with a group of children and with me as their Key adult. But another member of staff could call my group for something, "Blue Group come and wash your hands for lunch" or whatever, but they don't do any activities with 'my group' unless I specifically ask them to, for example if I'm held up with a parent or whatever.

 

My other staff members are part time and have the younger children, the 2 - 3 year olds, and although they have the same colour group 'teams' (Red, Yellow and purple) the children are more often grouped together as a unit and apart from Key Person time when they do something as a group, they are all together and do activities with whatever adult is doing the activity that day. Key persons still have the responsibility for observing and planning for their children, but any next steps for the children is clearly annotated on the planning.

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Thanks for both replies so far. I'm interested in what you both say- Holly why do you say it is a con that the relationship isn't allowed ot develop- can you explain how you would better structure it? Do you mean keep the same groups all year? Cait- it sounds to me as though you work in simlilar way to what I was describing, why did you say it sounds bizarre?

 

hope you cna both reply- I'm more oncfused than ever now!

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Maybe it's us that's confused! I can't speak for Cait but it doesn't take much for me. I interpreted it as though the keyperson switched their keygroup weekly so the children get to know all the staff but didn't build a strong relationship with any one specific keyperson. At our setting we have children from 2 years and I know some feel the children don't need a specific caregiver by this age, and are more able to move between a core group. I'm not so sure about this. We have allthe children in a large group most of the time with focus activities going on during this time. But children go to their keyperson for certain times to do group work and they sit together at circle time. I would like to feel all my staff really know their children, being able to speak about them as easily as if they were their own for example. However I'm not sure this is the case and this is what worries me. If an adult doesn't know the children do the children feel secure with the adult and can their needs be tuned into and catered for?

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As a teacher in a maintained school I am expected to know all 30 children in my care really well and I don't honestly find this a problem. I would also consider that I know all of the children in the FSU well (all 78) and all children are catered for.

 

http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.g...354?uc=force_uj

 

The key person approach does not mean that the key person should be with their key children all

the time. No parent does that and children need, and of course benefit from, interactions with other

adults and children in the early years setting.

 

The key person approach does not mean that children are not allowed to make close relationships

with other adults. Children often choose who they want to be attached to and these choices should

be respected. Exactly how children and the key person are linked needs careful thought in the early

years setting.

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Maybe it's us that's confused! I can't speak for Cait but it doesn't take much for me. I interpreted it as though the keyperson switched their keygroup weekly so the children get to know all the staff but didn't build a strong relationship with any one specific keyperson.

 

 

Yes, that's how I read it too, and the reason I thought it sounded bizarre was that I couldn't understand how you decide which adult is responsible for the child's learning story file and next steps etc. if all the adults have all the children in rotation.

 

I can ask any of my staff what a child in their key group's next steps are, and they know the child well enough to be able to tell me. How does your system work from that point of view?

 

We're not being critical by the way, just trying to understand different methodology

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As a teacher in a maintained school I am expected to know all 30 children in my care really well and I don't honestly find this a problem. I would also consider that I know all of the children in the FSU well (all 78) and all children are catered for.

 

Can explain some of how you set up/organise your setting? If I were to keep key persons (so chn shared between 3 adults) and have a part of the session for this, then I would work with different chn each day for a focus activity? How do you organise who carries out observations for which chn etc?

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Hi, I'm in a pre school but our children are shared between 3 adults too. We take it in turns to do focussed tasks, so have children that aren't our key children participating. We all do short observations on all children but only do long observations on our key children. Children seem to have a good relationship with all staff and as children do, do have their favourites who we make their key person if not already the case. I find it works well with parents, I no longer have as many messages or 30 parents wanting a quick chat all at once!

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Hi, I'm in a pre school but our children are shared between 3 adults too. We take it in turns to do focussed tasks, so have children that aren't our key children participating. We all do short observations on all children but only do long observations on our key children. Children seem to have a good relationship with all staff and as children do, do have their favourites who we make their key person if not already the case. I find it works well with parents, I no longer have as many messages or 30 parents wanting a quick chat all at once!

 

Thanks for that suebear- it is interesting to hear how different setting work. As a maintained setting we have part of the session which is for small group time so all adults are carrying out activities everyday- this is the bit that is causing issues- do we work with the same chn all week or change each day accordingly- thankyou for your advice and info!

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