Key Person

What is the Key Person Approach?

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

The Key Person 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 Key Person 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 Key Person?

The role of the Key Person 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 Key Person 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 would also normally be done mainly through the Key Person.

What happens when the Key Person is absent?

Each Key Person is paired with a 'significant other' who takes on the role of the Key Person in their absence with the support of the other staff.  It is part of the Key Person’s role to ensure that the 'significant other' and other staff are aware of their child’s needs.  Each child belongs to their Key Person’s family group, their 'significant others' 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.