Whippersnappers offer Primary Caregiving for all children. A ‘Primary Caregiver’ is the child’s special teacher. Primary Caregivers are responsible for the child’s care routines, observations, discussions with families and setting appropriate learning objectives in partnership with families.
This does not mean that the child and their primary caregiver maintain an exclusive relationship. However, the primary caregiver becomes the in-centre expert on the child, within the team, and holds responsibility for providing consistent care in a way that maximises the potential for learning in all experiences. This allows a strong and secure attachment between child and primary caregiver to develop, and helps the child to gain a positive sense of self worth.
Each child is assigned a primary caregiver before they start their pre-visits. Each primary caregiver has a focus group consisting of approximately 4 or 5 children.
Each primary caregiver has an assigned buddy. A buddy is another teacher who works alongside the primary caregiver with their focus group of children. The buddy knows the children and their routines to ensure the child’s needs are met at times when the primary caregiver is unavailable.
When an infant or toddler starts at the Nursery School they have their needs met foremost by their primary caregiver and then by their buddy teacher in order for them to establish a strong bond from the beginning.
If a child has a preference to a particular teacher after a primary caregiver is assigned, changes may be made to acknowledge and respect this child’s feelings.
Infant and toddler’s care routines are special times which allow opportunities for valuable teaching and learning. It is important that these special times are uninterrupted therefore staff will be flexible throughout the day (prioritising children’s needs, parents needs and break times) to enable consistent care for each individual child.
Primary caregivers recognise learning and plan for each individual within the group, ensuring positive experiences for the child within the programme.
Within the team is a support system incorporating consistent primary caregivers who all know the children well and support their team members when needed.
As part of Whippersnappers’ primary caregiving system relief teachers unfamiliar to the children will not participate in care routines. Relievers are encouraged to interact with the children and will support the teaching team with the daily housekeeping tasks.
A caring and nurturing environment is provided for our infants and toddlers. We recognise that each child’s emotional security is paramount and that this directly affects their learning and development. We therefore strive to maintain a peaceful and unhurried environment. Our daily routine is relaxed and flexible, allowing for each child’s home routines to be followed as much as possible. This maximizes consistency and continuity and eases the transition between home and centre.