Special Needs Inclusion Programme (SNIP)

Early support and inclusion increases independence, confidence and development

SNIP supports preschool children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to access mainstream private nurseries and preschools.

Mission Statement

The Trust believes that children with SEND have the same rights to high quality mainstream childcare as other children.  We know, through research and experience, that if children’s needs are supported early, they will benefit in terms of inclusion, independence and development.

The Programme Aims

  • To facilitate the inclusion of children with SEND into mainstream childcare settings;
  • To provide targeted early intervention by working in partnership with Health and Development professionals around the child;
  • To offer equal opportunities to all children.

How to Access the Programme

Support is available to any child from birth to school age, with an additional need, who is accessing a private nursery or preschool setting.

The main criteria is that the child is accessing support through two professional agencies e.g. Speech and Language Therapy, Early Years Inclusion Team, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy.  If you are not sure whether a child meets this criteria please call us on 01534 629901.

A parent, professional or childcare practitioner can refer a child using a Referral Form from the Trust. All referrals must have the parent’s consent and signature.

Once the referral is received the Special Needs Support and Development Coordinator will ring the child’s parent/parents to discuss the process.  She may also speak/visit the child at their childcare setting and observe any areas of need.  A report, including any recommendations from professionals involved with the child, is then presented to the Programme’s Steering Group (which happens every 6-8 weeks).  The Group then decides how many hours of support per week the child will need and this is confirmed with the childcare setting and parent in writing.

If you have any questions about eligibility or this process please call us on 01534 629901.

Monitoring Support

Information about the child’s progress is regularly gathered from professionals involved, the childcare setting, the support worker and parents.  Support is then reviewed every 6-8 weeks using this information, at the Programme’s Steering Group meeting.

The Steering Group

For each child, this currently consists of:

  • Co-ordinator of the Programme
  • Health Visitor (Family Nursing and Home Care)
  • Early Years Inclusion Team (EYIT)
  • Parenting Support Services (PSS)

“This is Harry” Video

This short vimeo clip helps to illustrate our work showing the Trust’s employed Support Worker, Mel, working alongside Harry (3 years old in this movie) to enable him to access the learning and play alongside his peers.  Without this support, Harry wouldn’t be able to access a day nursery or preschool.

This programme relies solely on charitable donations – please contact us if you wish to make a donation.

Raphael’s Story

Raphael is a non-verbal, autistic boy, who had had limited social exposure due to his high anxiety levels in social settings.  With support from SNIP, he began at a mainstream nursery with constant one-to-one support and for the first time since his diagnosis his mother felt she no longer had to fear for his future.

First steps

Raphael is a very affectionate little boy obsessed with logos, which he eagerly seeks out in magazines and points to on cars.  While he is good at making eye contact, he communicates entirely through touch, sign and gesture.

In April 2015, the professionals working with the family thought it would be hugely beneficial for Raphael to be in a nursery environment.  Up until that point he had had limited exposure to social settings due to his anxiety levels in such situations.

With the support from SNIP, Raphael started at a mainstream nursery setting, attending eight hours a week.  With funding acquired for him to attend nursery for eight hours a week, SNIP was able to offer him one-to-one support for the entire time.  Without this Raphael simply would not have been able to cope in the busy nursery setting.

This was also a huge step for his parents whose many anxieties included his ability simply to communicate his needs to adults other than themselves.

Settling in to nursery

Raphael started nursery in June 2015 after a number of home visits and settling in sessions.  When Raphael started he had to spend the first 15-20 minutes outside on his own with his support worker before he was prepared to come into the setting with the other children.  Initially he would not eat at nursery and would need a range of sensory toys to soothe him.

With intense support and the use of visual aids, Raphael began to learn the routine of the setting.  He became more tolerant of the other children and started to join in at snack time.  Raphael parents decided to keep him at the setting for his preschool year and in September 2015 he started to attend five mornings a week with full support.  During a progress meeting in the October his mother explained to us that for the first time since his diagnosis she was not fearful for Raphael’s future.  She could now be excited about the path ahead and her anxieties about him starting school were no longer a concern.

No longer fearing the future

By the time Raphael left nursery in August 2016, he was coming straight into the setting every morning, waving goodbye to his mum and heading straight to the book corner (his favourite area of the nursery).  He joined the other children for carpet time and ate his lunch independently with his friends.  He loved going out on nursery trips and was starting to makes requests (through the use of Pictorial Exchange Communications or PECs).  His support had been reduced from 20 hours a week to 15.  A year earlier this scenario had been unthinkable.

A fresh step in the right direction

Raphael is now at Mont à L’Abbé school, supported by Sophie Picot.  He moved with another child from his nursery who has been receiving support through the programme and coped exceedingly well with the transition.  His use of signs to communicate has continued to increase as has his ability to respond to visual cues.  He is also increasingly babbling during play, using sounds with real intonation.  He engages other children and enjoys turn-taking activities with his support worker and a friend.

His mother says she cannot believe how far he has come and she feels that the Trust has been fundamental in this change.

A Day in the life of a Support Worker

Iona Sweet

Due to the covid-19 pandemic life as a supporter worker has changed. When I go into work now I have to follow a newer routine that helps protect myself, the child I am working with and anyone else in the nursery. The children also have to wash their hands and have their temperature taken when they arrive. Temperature checks are done at regular intervals throughout the day for everyone.

Arrive at setting – I arrive at the nursery in my normal clothes. I then have to change into my work clothes once there. I wash my hands and have my temperature taken before I interact with any of the children. My work clothes are washed, dried and kept on site. I also have to wear an apron, gloves and mask throughout the day. Hand washing is essential and I do this as much as possible.

Daily routine – The daily routine is kept as close to normal as possible with snacks and lunch times being kept to the same time.  We also have outside time to ensure the children have their daily exercise.  Social distancing can be difficult when working with a child who has additional needs so extra handwashing is necessary. Also educating and encouraging my key child to wash their hands is important. Including this is their daily routine helps minimise any anxieties around doing it.  I continue to use any forms of communication aids I would have before the changes.  This helps my key child to understand their day.

A massive difference which can cause distress is the area changes.  Toddlers and preschool are only allowed in the toddler area as the preschool area is used for the staff and isolation room. Babies use a separate part of the building. Each has its own entrance.  Parents do not come into the toddler area when dropping off or picking up their children.  If my key child does become distressed I am able to take them to a quieter part of the toddler area and allow them some time to themselves.  This room is big enough for me to have the appropriate social distancing whilst still being able to support them.

At the end of the day – Any toys or equipment that a child or adult uses is cleaned after it is used and at the end of the day.  All the floors, surfaces and door handles are also cleaned.  All clothes and fabric masks as washed daily.  The masks are washed, tumble dried and ironed.



Who can access support?

Any child from birth to school age with an additional need accessing a private nursery or preschool setting.  The main criteria is that the child is accessing support through two professional agencies e.g. Speech and Language Therapy, Early Years Inclusion Team, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy.

How can I access support?

Please see our section entitled “How to access” above.

How much support will a child receive?

Each child is assigned a Support Worker who works on targets set by the Health and Development professionals involved.  Hours of support vary from 5 hours to 20 hours a week, depending upon the needs of the child and the setting.  The hours of support are agreed in consultation with parents, Health and Development professionals and the setting itself.  These are reviewed every 6-8 weeks at our Steering Group meeting.

Who will support the child?

All our Support Workers have a minimum Level Three Childcare qualification, training in Safeguarding, First Aid, SPELL and basic Signing.  Some of our support workers also have training in Tracheostomy care, Peg feeding and PECS communication.  Once Support has been agreed we will assign the child a Support Worker and arrange for the family to meet with them before support begins.

 How can I learn out more about inclusion?

An integral part of our role is promoting inclusive practice throughout the Island’s nurseries and preschools.

The Trust is currently running an inclusion series of Continuous Development Training, which is open to all those working in the childcare sector.  Examples of courses provided include; Basic Signing, Sing and Sign activity sessions, SPELL training and Responding to Challenging Behaviour in the early years.

We actively promote signing within all preschool settings and have recently set up an initiative that will see signing puppets in all private and voluntary preschool settings across the Island.

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