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Physical and mental health for young children
Physical and mental health for young children

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2 Early childhood setting health profile

This section looks at Step 1 of the Toolkit. In the previous sessions of the course, you’ve looked at the factors within the child, their family, their community and the country that they live in that can influence babies and children’s health. The questions in Step 1, see Table 2 below, are designed to help you learn more about the factors that may influence the health of the children and families in your setting.

Activity 1

Using the early childhood setting health profile

Timing: 15 minutes

Take a look at the questions in Step 1 and, if you work in a setting, consider the answers to the questions. As you respond to the answers, make a list of the reasons why developing a profile of your setting is helpful when considering the health of babies and children.

Table 2
Description of your setting
Type of setting
  • privately owned
  • nursery school in the state maintained sector
  • children’s Centre
  • voluntary
  • other
Location of setting: what description fits where your setting is located An area of:
  • affluence
  • deprivation
  • other
Number of children in each age band
  • 0–1 years
  • 1–2 years
  • 2–3 years
  • 3–4 years
Number of staff in the setting
  • practitioners
  • cleaning staff
  • other staff
Parents of the children in your setting
  • in employment
  • not employed
Number of children receiving funding
  • 2 year old funding
  • 3 year old funding
Ethnicity of children and families: How many parents describe themselves as
  • white
  • Black
  • other race
Minority groups Do you have any children who are living in families who are:
  • Refugee/asylum seeking
  • Gypsy/Traveller/Roma
English as an additional language

Do you have children who belong to families who have English as an additional language?

If so, how many children?

Which languages, other than English are spoken by children and families in your setting?

Children not living with their biological parents Do you have any children who are:
  • looked-after by the state
  • living with kinship carers, for example grandparents?
Health priorities in your setting
What are the children’s health issues that are of most concern?  
What aspects of health improvement do you promote in your setting?  
What aspect of children’s health would you most like to improve?  
What resources do you use to promote children’s health?  
Health issues that affect the children in your setting
Chronic Health Conditions Are any of the children in your setting affected by any of the following health conditions. If so, how many?
  • asthma
  • diabetes
  • eczema
  • epilepsy
  • sickle cell anaemia
Children with dietary restrictions/requirements


Type of restriction and reason

  • Do any of the children have an allergy?
  • How many children?
  • What are they allergic to?
  • How would you describe the severity of their allergy: mild/moderate/severe?
  • Do they require to have an Epipen injection?
Complex medical conditions

Complex medical conditions, Yes/No how many children?

Please name the condition(s)

Does the child(ren) require any support such as

  • Tube-feeding
  • Any other clinical procedure?
Infectious illnesses

Do the children in your setting ever have infectious illnesses such as:

  • colds
  • diarrhoea and vomiting
  • conjunctivitis
  • hand, foot and mouth

Absence because of being ill with an infectious disease?

How often are children absent because of an infectious disease? frequently/occasionally/never

How often are staff absent because of being ill with an infectious disease? frequently/occasionally/never

Mental health conditions

Do any of your children have any of the following:

  • behavioural difficulties
  • attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • autism
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • phobias
  • any other mental health conditions
Other child health conditions How many children in your setting have one, or more, of the following health conditions:
  • overweight or obese
  • dental decay
Education health care plans (EHCPs)

Do you have any children with an EHCP? How many?

Working with other professionals

Do you work with other professionals or agencies to support children’s health?

Please specify:

  • Health visitor
  • School Nurse
  • Hospital Staff
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Dentists/Dental Nurses
  • Physiotherapist
  • other


Step 1 asks wide-ranging questions which are designed to learn more about the social, economic, ethnic and cultural factors that may influence the health of children and families. The questions link back to the content of Session 3, and also link to the video where Helen Lyndon speaks about the influence of the child’s environment on their health. Consider how the questions in Step 1 above, will help to find out more about the health conditions that children may already have.

In the next part of the activity, the video gives a practitioner’s view of using the 5 steps.

Practitioner’s perspective on using the Toolkit

Timing: 5 minutes

In the following video, Karen Neal – Family Support Worker at the Nursery and co-researcher for the pilot – explains how the 5 steps helped the practitioners in her setting to learn more about the health needs of the children in her setting. As you listen to Karen, think about how much of what she says is helpful to your work with children.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 2 Practitioner’s Perspective on using the ToolKit.
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Video 2 Practitioner’s Perspective on using the ToolKit.
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As you listened to Karen in the video, it may have struck you how she explains that it became clear very quickly that the practitioners in the setting didn’t have all the answers to the questions; this highlighted to them that they needed to involve parents. In Sessions 7 and 8 there is more about the importance of working with parents to support children’s health. Having looked at the questions in Step 1, you too may have further or different questions that you think would be helpful to learn about the factors that influence the health of the children and families in your setting.

The following section looks at Step 2, the early childhood health promotion target tool.