Support for your child in nursery

Support for your child in nursery

Going to nursery might be a big change for your child and the family. It’s important that you feel they are fully supported there. This may be the time that you, or those who work with your child, start to notice that they’re needing extra help with some things.

By working together, you and the people that support your child can help them get the most from their pre-school education.

On this page, we’ll talk about ‘nursery’ to refer to all settings where your child might be receiving their funded hours of early learning and childcare.

How will my child’s needs be identified?

It’s important that everyone works together to try and identify your child’s needs as early as possible. This can help your child get the support they need.

You and your child’s nursery should share information and observations about your child. You might notice some things they are struggling with at home. Or staff might pick things up in the nursery environment that suggest your child might need some support. If your child has had any assessments, for example by health professionals, it’s good to share that information with the nursery too.

If you think your child might need some extra support, it’s good to talk to the nursery about this. The nursery should take account of everything you tell them and work with you to come up with a plan. It might be that nursery staff are noticing the same things and may already be providing some support.

  • Identifying and assessing your child’s needs

    Factsheet explaining what local authorities, schools and nurseries must do to identify your child’s support needs, and your rights to request assessments of their needs.

How can I ask for an assessment of my child’s needs?

Your child does not need to have had any formal assessments to be able to get support at nursery. But if you feel that more information would help everyone to support your child better, you can ask the nursery to arrange for their needs to be assessed.

Depending on your child’s needs, they may be assessed by education, health or other professionals.

If the nursery does not arrange an assessment, but you still feel your child needs one, you have the right to make a formal request for an assessment to your local authority.

The results of assessments can help everyone understand your child’s needs and what things will help them most.

  • Identifying and assessing your child’s needs

    Factsheet explaining what local authorities, schools and nurseries must do to identify your child’s support needs, and your rights to request assessments of their needs.

How will my child be supported?

There are many types of support available. The support your child gets should be tailored to their individual needs. It should build on their strengths and help them overcome any difficulties they’re experiencing. The aim should be to help your child fully benefit from their early education.

Some examples of the types of support available are:

  • nursery staff taking advice on supports and strategies from specialists, like an educational psychologist or speech and language therapist
  • extra help from a support assistant
  • help with any medical needs, like giving medication or help to manage a health condition
  • changes to the nursery environment
  • working in smaller groups
  • placing a child in a specialist nursery, where particular supports and specialist staff are available.

You might have ideas about what will work for your child. You can share information about what helps them at home and work with the nursery to plan your child’s support together.

Can my child have a written support plan?

Nurseries plan all children’s learning and support on an ongoing basis. The nursery should involve you in this from an early stage. Often this can be done in a fairly informal way through discussions and emails. It might not always involve more formal meetings and written plans.

A written support plan can be a helpful way of keeping your child’s support under review to make sure it’s working for them. It can also be a useful record of their needs and the supports that have been agreed for them.

Education support plans have different names in different areas of Scotland. It’s best to ask your child’s nursery about what plan they might put in place for your child.

If your child has multiple or complex additional support needs and needs a lot of support from education and at least one other agency (like social work or health), they may be eligible for a co-ordinated support plan (CSP). Find out more about CSPs in our Co-ordinated support plans factsheet.

  • Planning your child’s support

    This factsheet explains the different ways that your child’s support might be planned, including descriptions of the types of written plans that might be used.

  • Co-ordinated support plans (CSPs)

    This factsheet explains what a co-ordinated support plan (CSP) is, what the criteria are for a CSP, and how to request one.

How can I be involved?

Your child’s nursery should involve you in decisions and discussions about your child’s learning and support throughout their time in nursery. You have a lot of valuable information and insights about your child to offer. These will help the nursery work out the best support for your child.

You also have many rights as a parent or carer, for example to ask for assessments of your child’s needs, for a co-ordinated support plan, and to have someone with you at any meetings about your child’s support.

We have lots of useful advice on working together with staff throughout your child’s education that it might be helpful to read through. Take a look at our section on Working with school and solving problems section for more.

  • Working together with your child’s school

    This factsheet explains how you can have positive conversations with your child’s school or nursery, including advice for attending meetings about your child’s support.

Hear our helpline team answer questions from parents and carers about support in nursery in our Q+A session:

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