The key person approach

  • What is the Keyperson Approach?

    Every child deserves to be special to someone and the Keyperson Approach recognises this.

    The Keyperson Approach is one of the vital principals in the Early Years Foundation Stage and now a statutory requirement of the framework.  It is a reciprocal relationship between a member of staff, individual child and their family.  It provides the child with a sense of security so that they feel confident to explore their world and form further relationships.

    The Keyperson has an ‘invisible elastic thread’ of attachment to their key child, holding them in mind throughout their time at nursery.  It does not mean that they ‘shadow’ or cling to the child or that they have to manage on their own.

    What is the role of the Keyperson?

    The role of the Keyperson is to know their individual child and to support their sense of identity and individuality.  They need to be aware of their individual child’s and family’s needs, preferences and development.

    The Keyperson will usually be the person who welcomes the child and carer to the nursery and helps to settle the child into the session.  They would also be the main person providing the child’s intimate care such as nappy changing, putting to sleep and physical closeness.  Any information shared with the parents is also done mainly through the Keyperson.

    What happens when the Keyperson is absent?

    Each Keyperson is paired with a ‘buddy’ who takes on the role of the Keyperson in their absence with the support of the other staff.  It is part of the Keyperson’s role to ensure that the buddy and other staff are aware of their child’s needs.  Each child belongs to their Keyperson’s family group, their buddy’s extended family and the further extended group of the whole room.  

    What is Attachment?

    “The building blocks of children’s development.  Through a positive reciprocal relationship children learn to modulate affect, soothe themselves and to relate to others.  Attachment is the base from which children explore…..their early attachment experiences form their concepts of Self, Others and the World.”                 John Bowlby.