Choosing an early years setting

Contact your QTVI when you are considering starting at a childminder, nursery, school or playgroup and discuss with them the options and help available. They can help you make choices and also help staff at the setting to understand your child’s needs. Your QTVI may also provide direct support for some children at playgroup or nursery. The section below has detailed and specific information and advice on choosing settings.

Physical school environment

Ask your QTVI or habilitation officer to do a whole school premises check including the playground, to ensure ACCESSIBILITY AND SAFETY for a vision impaired child

For example:

  • Outline step edges in yellow.
  • Highlight pillars and other vertical hazards and ensure all highlighting is near eye level.
  • Provide handrails on both sides of stairs.
  • Provide controllable lighting and blinds at windows to minimise glare.

Other physical environment considerations

  • Give the child time to get to know and become familiar with the physical environment.
  • If appropriate give the child an individual tour of the school environment and show where resources are kept.
  • Don’t change the room around too often.
  • Does the classroom for a young vision impaired child need to be upstairs or can classes be swapped so class is on ground floor.
  • Give vision impaired child a 5 minute pass to enable him or her to go up and down stairs before or after the crowd or to access the cloakroom without a crowd.
  • Make wall displays accessible height-wise. Show them to the child 1:1.
  • Choose a locker at eye height.
  • Be mindful of trip hazards – computer cables, bag straps poking out from desks.
  • Lights should not be turned off in areas of only occasional use.
  • Put coat peg at end of row.
  • Use a bright colour to differentiate the child’s sports and boom bag from other bags of the same colour.
  • Secondary school – 2 school lockers may be needed for enlarged work files. Make sure lockers are accessible & not in a classroom as child may need to use locker more often than others.
  • Use a brightly coloured padlock for locker.
  • Plan and practice 1:1 procedure for fire alarm practice.