Nursery uses The Balanced System® to review communication
White House Nursery in Alvaston has become one of the first settings to complete the Understand Phase of The Balanced System®. The System is part of the TALK Derby resources available to nurseries and primary schools to help them recognise everything they are currently doing to support speech, language and communication skills and then signposts to resources, information and training to further develop these skills.
Michelle Taylor, White House Nursery’s manager, says: “We were already very proactive with our speech and language provision but thought if the system would highlight areas where we can improve further, then why not sign up.”
The Understand Phase requires the settings to put all their current activities and evidence in to The Balanced System® . It then identifies areas of good practice and where there are gaps and improvements can be made.
Michelle says: “It takes time to input all the evidence but finding the gaps has been interesting. The way the findings are collated and presented has provided us with a different view of our strengths and areas to work on.
“One example was an information board in the main building where we had displayed information for parents about speech and language. We took this down and replaced it as we thought most parents would have seen it.
“Through The Balanced System® we recognised as children join the nursery across the year, not all parents will have seen this. We’re now reinstating it and adding a similar display in the pre-school building.”
The nursery holds open evenings for all parents, but invitations are sent to parents with children who may need targeted support.
Michelle adds: “Of the ten parents that attended the speech and language evening, five were ‘targeted’ families. These had children still using dummies. After the event, two parents went ‘cold turkey’ with the dummies.
“On the night we asked parents to sing ‘Twinkle, twinkle’ with a carrot in their mouths to illustrate how challenging it is to communicate using a dummy.”
And the staff at the nursery have benefitted from this first phase as they have gained confidence, additional support and knowledge – including the newly qualified nursery nurse and apprentices. In addition, tracking and observations of children are now more focused.
Michelle says: “We’re really excited to move onto the next phase as it will provide us with more data and allow us to see the impact of the changes we are making with the children and parents.”