Portage - a home teaching service

Portage is a home teaching service for young children who have an additional need. It supports children’s development by helping parents and children to learn together.

Portage helps parents and children play and learn together in their home through regular home visits; this involves planning for family focus time, child led play and structured teaching activities.

An overview of the Portage service, responsibility for completion of initial assessments, and allocations is held by the Portage Lead. The development and co-ordination of this service remains with this team member, under the supervision of the Early Learning and Childcare Team management.

Portage referrals from families or a range of professionals involved with the child and/or family are received by the Early Learning and Childcare Team.

An initial visit is then arranged with the family and the Portage criteria are considered.

When considering the individual needs and circumstances for all children the Portage Access Criteria is utilised. The access criteria ensures that we are able to apply a consistent approach when allocating Portage interventions. In real terms this would mean that children and families who have not previously accessed Portage interventions will be prioritised.

Portage is allocated in blocks of time which covers 24 weeks, approximately 6 months; individual targets and action plans are developed in partnership with families and fortnightly visits are undertaken at the family home.

Outcomes

  • The service aims to build firm foundations for the child’s learning and development.
  • Portage recognises the vital role played by all parents and carers in the early development of the young child.
  • Portage recognises how caring for a child with an identified learning support need requires a more systematic response from parents and carers if they are to grow and develop during their first years.
  • Portage offers a systematic support. It works with parents and carers, within the familiar routines of childhood where early learning takes place, finding starting points by responding to child led play.
  • Time is spent sharing and addressing family priorities, sharing daily routines/experiences, addressing family needs and looking forward, sharing information and empowering parents.
  • During the home visits the family and Portage Worker build up a developmental profile of existing skills and understanding as shared observation of the child while playing, participating in daily routines, responding to the familiar environment is undertaken. This highlights the child’s progress so far and celebrates what has already been achieved.
  • Supporting effective planning for the future, transitions to nursery/school.
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