How does Meadow Children’s Centres cater for children and families with special educational needs and/or disability?
Children's Centres are for families with children under five. In Suffolk, our Children’s Centre’s and Health Visiting service are one team, and we believe this will provide our families with the best care and support, enabling them to provide the children in their care the best possible start. The Children's Centre team is made up of Health Visitors, Family Support Practitioners, School Nurses and Support and Information Officers.
At Meadow Children’s Centres, we pride ourselves on providing a welcoming and stimulating environment for all who come to see us. We aim to provide an inclusive environment where our families can feel safe and supported. Our groups, where possible, are planned within the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. This planning will look at the needs of individuals within the group and provide many opportunities for them to express themselves and grow with a range of options for open ended play, which in turn encourages an inclusive environment where everyone can express themselves and learn together. We also strive to make sure that every family and has a comfortable and non-judgmental experience when visiting Meadow Children’s Centre.
We value and respect all of our families and embrace the opportunity to celebrate their diversity. Meadow Children’s Centre has an equal opportunity, inclusion and diversity policies which are reviewed at least yearly. We offer a wide range of universal and targeted services which are designed to meet the needs of all of our families.
Our Centre is designed to be accessible and each activity room is set up prior to the group to make sure it is safe and accommodating. All of our toys and equipment are suitable for children aged 0 to 5 years and we have a range of specialist resources and have many sensory toys as well as knowledge of a sensory room at our sister Centre at Leiston.
We offer a range of parenting courses to help support parents in managing challenging behavior. Please see our timetable for full details of the groups and services we offer.
How will staff support my child's needs?
Firstly we will respect that parents/carers know what is best where their children are concerned and we will try not to make assumptions about what your child needs. If assistance is needed, there are always members of staff on hand during our groups who can offer help and support as required. One-to-one support is available for families in the home and we will work in partnership with you and other agencies in meeting the needs of your family. Our child centered approach puts children at the heart of our service, and should you require additional help, we will work with you to help identify any areas of concern, ensuring your child’s wishes and feelings are heard. We are trained to use the Common Assessment Framework and Signs of Safety to make sure we are able to undertake a thorough and realistic assessment of your child’s needs, which will focus on recognising and building on their strengths, in partnership with their family and any other professionals involved in their care.
Our Support and Information Officers are always on hand to offer information, advice and guidance and we can help to signpost you to other relevant local services and support as identified. These can include:
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) which provides information, advice and support to young people and children with SEN or disabilities aged 0-25 and their parents, about education, health and social care
Suffolk Early Learning Together Service
Speech and Language Therapists
Behavioral Support Services
When it is time for your child to start attending nursery or school, we can support you the transition period as we know this can be both challenging and an emotional time. Together, we can develop a transition plan which will help ensure that your child’s move is as smooth and stress free as possible.
What arrangements are in place to ensure that Meadow Children’s Centres are accessible for children and families with special educational needs and/or disability?
Meadow Children’s Centre is Disability Discrimination Act compliant, and although we do not have an induction loop, the staff are aware of the needs and sensitivities of our families with hearing difficulties and we always make an effort to communicate in other ways. All areas of the Centre that are for public use are fully accessible from all entrances and exits. We also have two parking spaces at the front of the building for use by anyone with additional needs. If you are a regular user of the Centre with an additional need, we will also draw up a Personal Evacuation Plan (PEEP) in case of an emergency. This will initially be drawn up by a member of staff who will then go through it with you.
The furniture within our Centre is entirely moveable and adaptable allowing the flexibility to create suitable spaces, if required. Our resources and equipment are displayed at child-height, and are fully accessible, allowing children to make independent choices about their play.
What training or experience do the staff supporting children and young people with SEND have?
The Centre is an inclusive setting with staff experienced and trained in early years care and education and development.
Staff Training undertaken includes:
Every Child a Talker (for Speech and Language)
ELKLAN (for Speech and Language)
Portage (for a variety of additional needs)
WELLCOMM (for Speech and Language)
Makaton (Signing – like Mr Tumble!)
Solihull Approach (Parenting support program)
Webster Stratton (Parenting support program)
Video Interactive Guidance (for Parental Attachment support)