Key teacher: Towards a definition
Adopting a key teacher system in an early childhood setting essentially means that one teacher takes a lead role in caring for a small group of children. For the children this means someone with whom they can build a close and trusting relationship. It also means someone who will respond to their needs and care for them. For the parents and whânau it means someone they will get to know well and with whom they will feel comfortable leaving their child. The key teacher is someone with whom parents, whânau and your child can build a close and trusting relationship.
What does this mean for you and your child and how will it work? It means that your child will be ‘assigned’ to a teacher who will undertake all of his or her care moments into what we call cluster care. It means you have a main contact person to talk to if there are any changes or concerns. However, key teaching in the pre-school does not last for long. Your child will soon be off and about, and no longer needs the one to one care of their key teacher. This is exactly what we want to happen and tells us that your child is confident and capable of making choices and decisions without a teacher being with them all the time.
Cluster care means to cluster all the care moments in one big cuddly bundle.
I.E. Nappy change or help using the toilet + lunch + sleep are all done by the Key Teacher in one continuous flow.