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The role of Key Person in an Early Years setting is vitally important and has a profound effect on a child's development and future relationships.

The reason is simple...attachment.

In the 1950s, psychologist John Bowlby developed a theory about the significance of early attachments between caregivers and very young children.

Bowlby believed these emotional bonds may have evolved to keep children safe and improve their chance of surviving infant hood.

Since Bowlby first formed his ideas, scientist have furthered his theory and it is now known that the attachment process operates throughout our lives, not just in our formative years.

Young children feel safe when their physical and psychological well-being is protected by an adult and those with strong attachments cry less when separated from their parents, engage in more pretend play and have longer attention spans.

They are also more inclined to try new things and be more independent, express their ideas and feelings freely and feel good about themselves.

When children feel happy and settled they are more confident to explore and, as a result, become more capable learners.

The 2017 Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework, which came into effect in April, states that each child has to be assigned a Key Person.

When a child starts at an Early Years setting the provider must inform the parent/carer of the Key Person's name and explain what the role involves.

Essentially, it involves creating a genuine bond with the child to form a positive and productive learning relationship.

By getting to know the child well, the Key Person can support their independence and individuality.

A Key Person not only provides for the child emotionally, offering comfort, reassurance and encouragement, but also creates learning opportunities and consistent boundaries.

They also attend to the child’s physical needs, by helping with mealtimes, care routines and dressing.

And, because of the close bond they build, a Key Person is also a point of contact for families, giving them regular feedback on the child’s development.

The relationships a child experiences from birth to five years have a significant effect on shaping their future, from their personality and resilience to their ability to socialise with others.

As such, their Key Person is the lynchpin, creating the environment in which the child can thrive.

If you want to learn more about what's required of a Key Person, then our CPD short course Fulfilling the Role of the Key Person, is the perfect learning tool.

The course explores the role, including relationship-building with parents and promoting a child's personal, social and emotional development in day-to-day practice.

Learners will also find out more about attachment theory and consider factors that a­ffect a child's ability to establish loving, secure relationships and how they develop friendships.

Our CPD short courses are written by professionals and each lesson combines filmed tutorials, reading activities, quizzes and good practice examples for an engaging learning experience.