First steps - starting well

Preparing for school begins a long time before a child enters the school gate. It is a journey that starts even before they are welcomed into the world. This stage emphasises the importance of good attachments and sensitive care from pre-birth to two years.

young child

From conception to two years is a crucial stage in a child’s development. The sensitive interaction between a baby and the main care giver impacts on the rapid brain development taking place during this phase. This relationship provides a necessary foundation for emotional well- being and positive self- esteem, promotes good physical and mental health, teaches intuitive social interaction and paves the way for future life and learning. 

Why are the first 1001 days important? - Resources and information to support parents, care givers and professionals.

The Literacy Trust’s ‘Talk to your baby’ campaign provides practical ideas for supporting parents.

  • Early years practitioners have a unique opportunity to support children and families by understanding the importance of Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

It is of paramount importance that each child has a key person who is ‘tuned in’ to their needs and working sensitively with each unique family.

“Each child must be assigned a key person. Their role is to help ensure that every child’s care is tailored to meet their individual needs (in accordance with paragraph 1:10), to help the child become familiar with the setting, offer a settled relationship for the child and build a relationship with their parents”. (3.27 Statutory framework for the early year’s foundation stage)

Social and Emotional Aspects of Development Guidance for practitioners working in the Early Years Foundation Stage

  • This excellent document provides quality guidance, information and inspiring good practice examples to support children as they develop from babies through pre -school and into the school reception year.

EYFS Principles to Practice card 2.4

  • This provides helpful material on the role of the key person. The cards provide a useful resource for making sure that key staff are well informed and experienced in early years and child development.

Further reading

Development Matters

Birth to 5 Matters

What to expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage: a guide for parents

Good Practice Example: Lake Side Day Nursery

This good practice example highlights the importance of a key person who is both “tuned into” the child and their needs, and can work sensitively with each unique family.

Reflective questions   Opens new window