Our specialist nursery
Our nursery is located in Middle Claydon, in a quiet, rural hamlet in Buckinghamshire, it was established in 2001 and was first known as The Puzzle Centre. Each academic year we have places for around 20 pre-school children to whom we can offer a highly individualised programme of support.
Autistic children need to have aspects of the curriculum presented to them in a way that takes account of their unique learning styles. This means that, especially in the early years, methods and approaches which may be appropriate for neuro-typical children, will not necessarily help autistic children to access learning opportunities in the same way.
Curriculum plans at the nursery reflect a balance between the unique needs of each individual child and the broad and balanced requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. Our nursery is staffed by practitioners with specialist knowledge in this field.
We adopt the Social Communication Emotional Regulation Transactional Supports (SCERTS) framework that enables us to adapt the curriculum to suit neurodevelopmental differences of autistic children. There is a primary focus on supporting communication, interaction and emotional well-being. This is achieved through adaptations, modifications and access to meaningful and relevant supports. Our approaches and supports are informed by the autistic voice and autistic led research. We are flexible and explore different means of support to identify what is most meaningful and relevant to the individual child.
“Thanks for giving our child a better chance in life.”Circle Centre Parent
The nursery experience
It is so important that both parents and children can build trusting relationships with our team.
We ensure there is protected time each day for parents to share and collaborate with learning support assistants and teachers.
When children start with us, we dedicate time and space to really get to know the child; learn about their interests, recognise what they are communicating to us and what they need to help them feel safe. This promotes the development of trust, curiosity and playfulness that allows a child to explore, problem solve and enhance their independence and ability to advocate for their needs.
When children arrive on site each day, they come into our large garden that provides a calm space with access to equipment that can help them settle, calm and get ready for the day. Activities are carefully planned throughout the day to include the children’s interests and supports needed to support their emotional regulation, communication and interaction.
Each child will present differently from day to day and therefore the curriculum is fluid and activities are adapted accordingly. We make activities feel safe and predictable to broaden the children’s experiences. Nursery days include individualised activities and small group activities that can take place in our main teaching room, soft play area, exploring room or messy play area. Group activities involve sensory circuits, music and movement, fun with food and stories and songs.
Our individualised approach
On enrolment, the children are individually assessed and a bespoke education plan is created for them, this is then monitored and closely followed throughout their time with us to regularly map the child’s progress.
The final result is a detailed, robust analysis of their needs, preferences, challenges and strengths: all critical for the parents and to ensure that the child goes on to get the educational support they need in their next school. These plans often form the basis of their SEN support plan and we report on the details about the child’s strengths, challenges and provision requirements to support that child.
Each child is centrally placed in a team of people who will be working closely together to support them. Parents are important members of the team and it is essential that the child, parents and practitioners work together collaboratively to ensure there is maximum benefit to the child’s achievements and their emotional well-being.
important members of the team and it is essential that the child, parents and practitioners work together collaboratively to ensure there is maximum benefit to the child’s achievements and their emotional well-being.
“The service has been transformative to us as a family, and it’s difficult to overstate the number of significant changes that we have observed and are grateful for.”Oliver’s Mum
Our nursery team
We employ a multi-disciplinary team of dedicated professionals who work together to support each child. The team comprise:
Learning Support Assistants
This team facilitate each child’s communication, play and learning by supporting on both an individual basis and through group-work. They do this under the guidance of a specialist teacher, speech and language therapist and occupational therapists.
Learning Assistants are assigned as a child’s key worker. As such, they play a vital part in helping the child to develop trust in a supporting adult. They support the children’s interaction, communication, self-advocacy and emotional well-being. They promote the children’s independence, self-help and engagement across the nursery day.
Nursery Coordinators In addition to their Learning assistant responsibilities, our nursery co-ordinators contribute to the planning of activities and support the team to embed the recommended supports. They are responsible for monitoring the environment and ensuring the materials and equipment are available, safe and relevant for the children to access.
We have two specialist teachers who are responsible for the day-to-day implementation of each child’s education plan. In addition to leading the sessions, they work directly with each child. They work collaboratively with the therapies team to develop individualised plans to support the children to engage in and access learning.
They use their knowledge of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and SEN legislation to ensure that there are adjustments, adaptations and flexibility to support the needs of the individual child. They enable each child’s access to education.
Occupational Therapist It is responsible for providing specialist insight across the setting to ensure that the environment is supportive of the children’s sensory and physical differences. They work closely with the whole teams to identify strategies and supports a child will benefit from and to enable them to participate in every day activities. This includes their play, emotional regulation, engagement and personal care. They identify each child’s unique profile to contribute to an individualised support plan. They contribute in the development of each child’s SEN support plan and review of termly outcomes.
Speech and Language Therapist Provides specialist knowledge of communication and interaction differences and preferences. They support the whole team to ensure that children can understand information presented to them, that the environment and activities are predictable. They ensure that all children have access to different means of communication and supports are embedded across the day (for example, gestures, objects, symbols and voice output systems). They identify each child’s unique profile to contribute to an SEN support plan and review of termly outcomes.
Family Support Coordinator
Offers a listening ear, guidance and signposting to families covering a wide range of topics such as barriers in the community, understanding the SEN process and challenges that the whole family may experience.