A range of images of children and adults

Annex A: What outstanding providers say

At a conference celebrating outstanding practice, providers told us what helped them provide an outstanding service for children.


Outstanding providers …

Keeping children at the heart of all that happens
  • keep the needs of the children at the heart of everything they do
  • put children first all the time
  • acknowledge each child is unique and build children’s self-esteem
  • get to know the children very well to meet their individual needs
  • love and nurture children so they feel valued and respected
  • take the lead from children and allow them to develop as individuals
  • have high expectations of children and support them very well in meeting their potential
  • allow children to make choices and let them learn from their own mistakes
  • provide challenging activities
  • ensure children learn about healthy eating – for example they plant, grow and eat healthy foods from the vegetable garden
  • work closely with other agencies, for example speech therapists, to meet the needs of all children
  • ask children for their ideas and put them into practice
  • have a passion for what they do.
Working with parents
  • develop strong links with parents from the outset
  • make parents extremely welcome and valued within the settings
  • share worthwhile information and ideas with parents in the best interest of the child
  • develop imaginative ways of sharing information with parents to keep parents aware and involved in their children’s time at the setting
  • develop firm links between home and the setting to make the child feel important, to support children’s next steps and to ensure consistency
  • use detailed websites to keep parents well informed.
Keeping children safe
  • put the child’s safety at the centre of all that they do
  • have robust recruitment procedures
  • are fully committed to protecting the children in their care
  • are not afraid to address poor performance by staff
  • keep all staff up to date with child protection training.
Improving practice
  • reflect on their practice and lead through good example
  • use observations and assessments to plan next steps for children
  • empower the staff and let them take ideas forward
  • are fully committed to furthering their knowledge through training and qualifications
  • update their operational plan and have wish lists and plans for the future
  • keep up to date with good ongoing childcare practices
  • are not afraid to use network support groups
  • as an entire staff team believe in the ‘vision’ for the setting and work together in supporting children and families.
Providing stimulating environments
  • provide a child-centred environment with stimulating and appropriate resources enabling children to explore and enjoy play in safety
  • change activities so children can pursue their own interests and develop their own imagination
  • make the children’s safety paramount and keep risk assessments up to date
  • retain good quality staff
  • meet more than the minimum requirement of staff/child ratios to ensure every child has their individual needs met
  • recognise good outdoor play is key to a child’s development.
Using records
  • keep clear records and children’s portfolios showing how children are developing
  • use records to show parents details of their baby or child’s day
  • ask parents to contribute to their child’s records
  • meet all the regulation requirements for documentation extremely well.