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The requirements for promoting emotional well-being in Early Years Settings

“Early years settings are required to ensure that every child has a designated adult who will have a special relationship”

The key person and promoting emotional well-being

"The key person is a named practitioner who has responsibilities for a small group of children, they are there to help the child feel safe and secure.” In England, key person also is a legal obligation.

The main role of the key person is providing emotional support to the key children. Key person is also responsible to help children developing their communication and language skills. As part of the role, the key person is also in charge for personal and hygiene routines with the key children.

The key person should establish a good and close partnership with parents/carers. In England, key person also needs to support parents/carers to help their child’s development at home.

“The key person is normally the person who considers children’s development and uses this information to feed back to the parents and also to the team in group care settings.” The key person develops, and plans plays and activities for key children.

When there are 2 adults responsible for the same child, we call co-key person or buddying system. It usually occurs because sometimes the key person is absent and doesn’t work all the time that the child is in the setting.

The needs of children during transition and significant events

Transitions and significant events that a child may experience

The way that the transitions happen and how it is handled could impact child’s capacity to cope with change. It is important to children’s development and emotional well-being have the adult’s support. Children need to cope with a range of transitions situations and events, these events may cause distress, events as:

Children can experience, moving between settings and carers in the same week or during a day.

They can move from one room to another, example, move from toddlers to pre-school room or they can have a big move, as moving to school;

Children should adapt to a new birth or moving home;

In some situations, children need to live outside the family home because a family breakdown or loss of important person.

Potential effects of transition and significant events on a child’s life

Important events can disturb children’s life in their short and long-term behaviours. Many adults have confidence that children are bright to adapt easily to new situations and so do not take seriously the consequences of transitions and important events, such as moving school, moving home or new birth.

As short-term effects are regression, it means, when children are struggling with changes situation, they may revert to an earlier stage of development. other short-term effect is, physical well-being, it is when children start having more infection than usual, that is, their immune system was affected because stress situation. The children can also have emotional effect, being easily upset, tearful or angry.

Some transitions can have long-term effect when they have not had support before, during and after the events. Long-term effects can affect their self-confidence and the ability to make friends or cope with changes. Depression, if not treated can become a long-term effect. Some children can become very angry and if they don’t learn to manage their anger, they can become aggressive adults. Children that lose trust in adults, in the future, can find hard to make expressive relationships. When children are not able to express their pain, they may use self-harming and abusive behaviour as expression of their pain. Some children, when they are not able to express their frustration may have antisocial behaviour to express it. It is common, children with long-term effect, have concentration at school and as a result underachievement.

The role of the early years practitioner and planned transitions

Most children will experience planned transitions, example a new sibling or new setting. These transitions are always planned. The practitioner can help children with the transition process.

Practitioners should be sensitive to children’s needs, particularly during transition time. Children may not always say their concerns, but they will show signs of distress in their behaviour.

Transition is a process, then it is important valued the children and family’s concern. Children in this process deserve special attention.

If children are moving to school, request welcome packs is a good idea and inform parents about dates. A good activity is role play experiences such as dressing up in school uniforms and lunchtimes.

Strong relationships between family and practitioners are the foundation for confident transition. Practitioners can have an honest dialogue with parents and offer information and inform instructive practices within the setting.

If children are moving from one setting to another, it helps visiting new settings with the children or request visits from new teacher/practitioner. It is important the practitioners know how the other setting works, then they can prepare more effectively the transition.

The professionals that work with children also can help in this transitional moment. Practitioners should prepare some special activities to help children in this singular moment in the children’s life.

The early years practitioner and supporting children during transition and significant life events

When the transition is not planned, as parents suffered accident or child might be suddenly removed from parents because concerns about their welfare. Whatever the circumstances children will need a support to cope with the changes. The practitioner is an important role in this situation, especially the key person.

Working closely with other, including families. Maybe the practitioner needs to talk with social worker and other professional to understand what is happening and create a better environment and activity to support the infant.

It is necessary spending more time with a child. Child will be very emotional and need a special attention.

Allowing children to express emotions is important. Create activities to help children understand and express their emotions are essential.

Some transition is traumatic, and it is necessary seeking further support as psychologist or other specialist.


TASSONI, Penny. Early Years Educator – for the worked-based learner. Cache Level 3

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