EARLY YEARS STATEMENT
Early Years statement
“Children are powerful learners. Every child can make progress in their learning, with the right help.” (Development matters – DfE 2020 pg6).
“Autism is a term used to describe a neurological difference in brain development that has a marked effect on how a person develops. There are four main areas of difference that are particularly important for staff in school and educational settings to understand and pay attention to because most children with autism will have individual educational needs to be met in these areas.” ( Early Years Program Autism Standards – Autism Education Trust 2018 pg.12.
Children with Autism are likely to differ from typically developing children in one or more of the following ways:
Interacting – differences in understanding social behaviour and the feelings of others, which informs the development of friendships and relationships.
Sensory processing – differences in perceiving sensory information. Hypo (low sensitivity) or hyper (high sensitivity) to touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste, vestibular inner ear (balance) or proprioceptive (body awareness).
Processing information – Differences in perception, planning, understanding, concepts, generalising, predicting, managing transitions, passions for interests, and an ability to absorb auditory or spoken information.
Communication – Differences in understanding and expressing communication and language, with skills ranging from individuals who are highly articulate to others who are non-verbal. Good language skills may mask a deeper level of misunderstanding.
Therefore, in the Early Years at Rosebank we use a variety of approaches, techniques and strategies to encourage all children to engage in purposeful play in order for them to reach their full potential.
At Rosebank we use the Early Years Autism Standards developed by Autism Education Trust (2018) supported by DfE to help develop our provision and meet individual needs. The standards have been developed to support school to meet the stutory duties set out in the SEND code of practice (2015) and the criteria within the OFSTED common inspection framework (2019).
There are four overarching principles that shape all Early Years practice set out in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2020) and Development Matters (2020). At Rosebank we use the guidance to inform our practice to meet the needs of individual children.
“Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured”
Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2020 pg.6)
“Children and young people on the autism spectrum have a range of educational needs and attend many different types of educational establishment. They may have uneven or ‘spiky’ profiles with varying abilities across areas. Throughout its materials the AET stresses the uniqueness of each learner with autism” Autism Education Trust Progression Framework (2019 pg12)
At Rosebank we understand that children with autism do not learn and relate to adults and children in the typical way. Children are closely observed to assess their social and emotional understanding, communication and language, ability to cope with change and their sensory needs. Individual outcome plans (SEND ptrofile), sensory diet plans, intimate care plans and individual pupil support plans are developed to address each child’s needs and the next steps for their development in these areas. Activities are adapted for each child dependent on their needs and level of understanding. Additional learning needs are assessed in conjunction with other professionals where appropriate.
“Children can be strong and independent through positive relationships”. Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2020 pg.6).
The adult to child relationship “is often essential in reducing anxiety and providing the support the young person requires in order to be able to access the curriculum and the learning environment. Young people should be encouraged to become as independent as possible in their learning but will benefit from knowing that they can call on help and support if needed”. Autism Education Trust Progression Framework (2019 pg34)
Parents and carers are welcomed into Rosebank School and their knowledge of their child is sought before the children start school and remains an on-going source of information to the staff working with the child.
Staff build positive relationships with the children through engaging in activities that the children enjoy but also through supporting them to try new things within a safe environment.
Staff meet formally and informally to discuss children’s response to activities and experiences. This shared information is used to develop new activities and experiences for the children. Where applicable, discussions are fed back to parents and other professionals.
“Children will learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time”. Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2020 pg.6).
“Adults supporting children with autism should adapt the environment to the needs of the individual child rather than making the child fit the setting”. (Early Years Autism Standards 2014)
At Rosebank the physical environment is designed specifically with the needs of children on the autistic spectrum in mind. A highly visually stimulating environment can be a confusing and frightening place for a child with autism. Therefore the environment is kept as calm as possible with only a few displays at any time. These displays will usually involve the children’s own work, pictures of things that the children have been shown in other activities such as group time or photos of the children themselves engaged in activities.
The classroom environment is kept as consistent as possible with changes being kept to a minimum. Photos of staff that the children will be working with that day are displayed for the children to see when they self-register.
Children are given time to explore the classroom and the activities on offer each morning before they are asked to do anything else. Routines are kept as consistent as possible. Where children are finding the environment difficult at certain times of the day individual members of staff give them the option to move to a different environment where they feel safe and calm until they feel confident to return to the classroom or move to a new activity. We use the Zone of Regulation to support children to understand their emotions and we teach them different ways in which they can self-regulate. Around the school children can use Regulation Stations to support their emotional wellbeing and to regulate their emotional state ready for learning.
Visual supports are used to help children understand when changes are about to take place, for example when an activity is almost finished and when it is time to move to something new. As the children’s understanding of pictures and symbols develops they will move from using objects of reference to photos, then symbols and ultimately to an individual visual timetable. Progression to the use of a visual timetable will depend on each child’s understanding of the visual supports.
A wide variety of activities are planned for the children, some of which are tailored to individual children’s known interests, while others may be new experiences designed to stimulate the children’s interests. Children are taken on regular outings where adults support them to accept and explore new environments. Careful observation of their responses in different situations informs planning of new experiences.
Learning and development
“Children develop and learn at different rates”. Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2020 pg.6).
“Adults can support children by modelling play and providing opportunities to explore new ways to play that are fun, engaging and at the right level”. Autism Education Trust Progression Framework (2019 pg55).
Individual and group activities are planned based on the observations of children in our setting and an understanding of their areas of need. Adult lead activities are designed to stimulate new interests in the children or to use children’s existing interests to develop skills in all 7 learning areas of the curriculum.