Early Years Podcast

Nurturing Social and Emotional Wellbeing

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Topic Round-up: Safeguarding with Ann-Marie Christian

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Take a deep-dive into the topics covered on our podcast with learnings, tips and resource recommendations from our in-house expert, Olivia Haslam.

Topic overview 

Alistair Bryce-Clegg is joined by Ann-Marie Christian, a safeguarding consultant, speaker, and author. Throughout the episodes they delve into the crucial topic of safeguarding in the early years.  

The conversation underscores the challenges of recognising safeguarding issues and the role of early years practitioners as vigilant observers. Ann-Marie and Alistair emphasize the complexity of safeguarding and the necessity of training and support for practitioners to make informed decisions that prioritise children’s wellbeing.   

Key takeaways

  • Adopting a proactive approach to safeguarding and the need for a “golden thread” of safeguarding running through daily practice.


  • The challenges of safeguarding young children who often can’t communicate their concerns verbally and the importance of recognising changes in behaviour, not making assumptions about children’s wellbeing, and being culturally competent when working with families from diverse backgrounds. 
  • The importance of safeguarding policies, emphasising the need for practitioners to be aware of national and local legislation, guidance, and procedures.
  • The significance of the document “Keeping Children Safe in Education” and the importance of clear and transparent safeguarding policies that should be regularly reviewed and updated.
  • The role of designated safeguarding leads (DSLs) and the responsibilities they carry.
  • Practical tips for practitioners and the need for a collective responsibility in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all children, emphasising the reality of hidden abuse that must be addressed.
  • Providing children with a safe and trusting environment, with a proactive approach to safeguarding, raising awareness among young children and creating a culture of vigilance.  


Key things practitioners could put into practice

Safeguarding training is crucial as it supports Early Years teams to take a more proactive approach to safeguarding including being alert to any suspicions and signs. While these signs don’t necessarily mean that a child is being abused, they could help you to assess the situation. These are as follows:  

  • Unexplained changes in behaviour or personality 
  • Becoming withdrawn 
  • Seeming anxious 
  • Becoming uncharacteristically aggressive 
  • Lacks social skills and has few friends, if any 
  • Poor bond or relationship with a parent 
  • Knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age 
  • Running away or going missing 
  • Always choosing to wear clothes which cover their body. 
  • Inappropriate language or touching of self and/or others

‘The Golden Thread’ of safeguarding in your setting can be achieved by keeping safeguarding as a constant conversation within the team, and ensuring safeguarding training is not once a year but rather a fluent part of practice and in every fibre of your setting this would then be the golden thread. It refers to keeping all other elements of practice and duty of care together by the golden strand of safeguarding. 

What does success look like in terms of approach to safeguarding?  

  • Proactive approach and strategies led by a designated safeguard lead 
  • Raising awareness 
  • Encourage children to communicate 
  • Regular staff training 
  • Images, posters and displays for children, parents and staff 
  • Safeguarding as an agenda in every team meeting 
  • Safeguarding supervisions 
  • Safeguarding audit and regular reviews. 

Olivia's recommended resources

I recommend this resource as the feelings and emotions sorting bags will encourage children to identify and talk about their feelings and emotions. This set will help to discriminate between different emotions and sort them appropriately. Includes 60 high quality photo cards with a wide range of facial expressions and real world situations, all designed to stimulate different emotions.

If you are looking for a program to support the emotional wellbeing of the children in your school or setting, this is the perfect kit for you, which is why it’s on our recommendations page.

Supporting educators in adult led activities to support children by starting from the premise that all emotions are valid, these resources have been developed by experts to help children flourish. Full of practical, helpful activities to develop children’s awareness of and ability to recognise their emotions. The cards and posters in this kit, give you a wealth of ways to build their emotional vocabulary and confidence to talk about their feelings.

This huge kit has everything that children will need to illustrate the highlights of their journey! They can draw a story in a child-shaped book and make a large-as-life selfie, I find this a useful resource in understanding the child’s life and encouraging discussion around this. From craft papers and cut-outs to bones and body systems it’s all in the box.

Children knowing who they are and how they work is a great way to building self-esteem. Children can tell a story about who they are and who and what is important to them using a cast of characters. These can include friends and family but most importantly the story is about the child which is key to learn of and understand in order to safeguard.

Ann-Marie's episodes are now CPD accredited - listen now!

Use the link below to re-listen to all 4 of Ann-Marie's episodes, take the CPD assessment, and get your certificate.

Emotions & Feelings

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