Cylch Meithrin Glan y Môr, Ceredigion, identified a rise in the number of children coming to the nursery with delayed speech. Staff met with the management committee to come up with ways of providing additional support.
Number of pupils: 37
Age range: 2½ - 4 years
Date of Estyn inspection: January 2014
Context and background to sector-leading practice
Cylch Meithrin Glan y Môr is located next to Ysgol Myfenydd in the village of Llanrhystud in Ceredigion. The setting welcomes children from 2½ years of age. Children move on to one of the local schools the term following their fourth birthday. The ‘Cylch’ is a Welsh-medium setting and the majority of the children attending live in the villages of Llanrhystud and Llanon. There are currently 37 children on the register, attending either morning or afternoon sessions. The majority of the children come from non-Welsh speaking backgrounds. The setting employs four members of staff, three of whom work full-time.
During the last few years there has been a considerable increase in the number of children coming into the setting at 2½ - 3 years of age with delayed speech. These have always been supported in partnership with the county’s Early Years Referral Scheme and the Speech and Language Therapy service. However, the number of children with this problem coming to the setting has continued to increase significantly during the last two years. The setting therefore felt that they needed to find an additional approach to tackle this problem.
Nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice
Staff discussed the situation with the management committee and decided to contact the Speech and Language Therapy service to see if they would be willing to meet with individual parents during session time. Staff thought that this would be more convenient for parents and that more would be willing to take up the opportunity. There is an office within the setting which is suitable for one to one meetings, thus ensuring confidentiality. The Speech and Language Therapy department were very supportive of the idea and, following an initial meeting with staff at the setting, a ‘surgery’ was arranged for the parents. All parents were sent letters informing them of the surgery and inviting them to make an appointment. About 30% of parents took up this offer and came in to speak to the Speech Therapist. As a result, all of the children were given a follow up appointment at the local clinic and relevant support programmes discussed with the parents. These surgeries are held on a termly basis and were widely welcomed by parents.
Following the success of the Speech and Language surgery, the setting arranged a similar session with the local Health Visitor. Again parents were invited to make appointments to meet with her during session time. Fewer parents took up this offer, but those that did benefitted from the opportunity and received beneficial support regarding specific concerns with their child’s development.
Impact on provision and learners’ standards
The children involved with these initiatives are receiving professional support earlier than they might otherwise have done.
Parents are happier for the setting to raise concerns as they know that they and their child will get the help they need. They can see how closely we are able to work with other professionals for the benefit of the child. The ‘surgeries’ are a more relaxed way of discussing concerns than a clinic appointment and parents are happy to come to a setting they are already so familiar with.
Parents are beginning to understand the important role they have to play in developing their child’s language. As a result, children are supported better in developing their communication skills and are able to access the full curriculum more effectively as they move on to school at 4 years old.
To further support speech and language development within our setting, one permanent member of staff followed a course run by the Speech and Language Therapy department. A second member of staff is currently following the course.