All registered pre-school settings must have important policies available for parents to see. Sometimes these may be displayed. These listed below are the most important but there are many others. You can ask to see all the policy documents if you wish.
Policy on Special Educational Needs (SEN)
This should set out the procedures for support and assessment of a child who needs additional support. In a group setting the name of the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) should be provided as a contact point for discussion of these issues. A childminder should have access to a SENCO in the local authority area for relevant advice and support. There is considerable training available for SENCOs and you may wish to meet this colleague and decide for yourself whether s/he appears to have the standard of knowledge that you would expect.
Liaison with outside agencies
The procedures for this should be clear in the SEN policy. In some areas Children's Centres have been established to support parents and offer provision for pre-school children. In these, links with agencies such as speech and language therapists are usually well organized. It is still always advisable to ask the SENCO in any setting about their procedures for identifying concerns about a child and making referrals to other professionals.
Policy on Bullying
This should explain what steps are taken to identify teasing and bullying and how it is dealt with. Regrettably children who stammer may be targets for this as they appear different to other children, so you must be reassured that staff are able to respond in a manner that you consider appropriate. One popular strategy, known as the 'no blame' approach tries to ensure that the bully is not punished but brought to appreciate the hurt that has been caused. Some parents may disagree with this and in general you would be advised to ask for detailed information about how the bullying policy operates so that you are comfortable with it.
Be alert to any signs of teasing or bullying during your visit. You need to be satisfied that the bullying policy is clear and will be followed to your satisfaction. See Teasing and Bullying in this resource.
Policy on Health and Safety
The regulations on this are obligatory but for a parent the need is to see how they appear to operate in practice. For example notice the standards of hygiene practised, how outdoor equipment is maintained, and how safe is access to doors leading out. Adventurous young children have been known to slip away unnoticed by staff and you must make a judgement on whether you feel that your child will be happy and safe there.
Check out what is really going on
Ask your provider if you can stay with your child for a short taster session before making up your mind so that he can get used to his surroundings. New environments often unsettle children who stammer and your presence can give some sense of continuity if you do opt for that provision. Notice how your child seems to be getting on and whether he appears to be comfortable with this new environment.
As children who stammer are more likely to be unsettled by major changes in their lives it will be helpful if your provider is able to offer support for some years. It might also be useful to consider the links that your provider has with the primary school that you are considering.
Click on the following links to open a PDF, use the back button on your browser to return to this resource. To save the handout to your computer, right click and choose 'Save as'.
Text for this page: Policy statements
Text for this whole section: Choosing your pre-school provider