At Waterside, we want to be able to help support our super heroes from a young age, empowering both them and their families in dealing with their behaviours and ensuring that they have the support they need to succeed.
We are a fully accredited Nurturing Schools Network School, one of the very few SEMH provisions in the UK to gain this award.
We are lucky to have fully qualified Nurture staff within the building and will be making full use of their expertise as well as training other staff who demonstrate a clear aptitude towards nurture and it's rationale.
If you have any questions, then pop in and see Meic who will be happy to help.
Why Nurture Groups?
Most children start school with assumptions based on early experiences at home, about their capacity to enjoy learning; they are willing to try something new and can learn from their mistakes. They have developed expectations about how adults will behave: whether they will be helpful and interested or disapproving and easily angry. Most children therefore enjoy the challenge of school and will be supported at home if difficulties arise.
However, some children do arrive in school without having the necessary positive early experiences. This could be for very many different reasons depending on their personal situation. For them, the complex activities and bustle of a mainstream class can be overwhelming: they could be unable to listen or take in what the teacher says; they could be easily distracted and quickly feel defeated. Some withdraw; others express their frustration by aggressive or impulsive behaviour more typical of a toddler.
The Principles of Nurture - Six important principles underpin the organisation and ethos of a nurturing school:
1. Children’s learning is understood developmentally – the foundations of learning begin at birth and develop via a close relationship with an adult. Independence develops through dependence. Social empathy as well as learning develops from being thought about, valued and encouraged. Staff in the nurture group respond to each child at whatever emotional or social age s/he appears to be with the appropriate degree of control and nurture. The quality of this response enables the child to move on. Children’s developmental progress is assessed using The Boxall Profile.
2. The nurture room and main school offer a safe base – there is a structured to the day which is predictable, adults who are reliable and firm and can set boundaries without being punitive. Children see two adults working together and supporting each other. This provides security and reassurance. The nurture group room offers a balance of educational and domestic experiences aimed at supporting the development of children’s relationship with each other and with the staff.
3. The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing - nurture is listening, being responsive, remembering and engaging in reciprocal, shared activities such as play, having meals, reading, talking about events and feelings. Children respond to being valued and being thought of as individuals. This involves calling the children by their name, noticing and praising every small achievement; nothing is hurried at Waterside.
4. Language is understood as a vital means of communication – Language is more than a skill to be learnt, it is the way of putting feelings into words. Children often ‘act out’ their feelings as they lack the vocabulary to ‘name’ how they feel. At Waterside the informal opportunities for talking and sharing, e.g welcoming the children into the group or having breakfast together are as important as the more formal lessons teaching language skills. Words are used instead of actions to express feelings and opportunities are created for extended conversations or encouraging imaginative play to understand the feelings of others.
5. All behaviour is communication –Understanding what a child is communicating through behaviour helps staff to respond in a firm but not-punitive way by not being provoked or discouraged. If the child can sense their feelings are understood this can help to diffuse difficult situations. The adult makes the link between the external/internal worlds of the child. This principle underlines the adult response to the children’s often challenging or difficult behaviour. ‘Given what I know about this child and their development what is this child trying to tell me?’
6. Transitions are significant in the lives of children – the nurture group helps the child make the difficult transition from home to school. However, on a daily basis there are numerous transitions the child makes, e.g between sessions and classes and between different adults. Changes in routine are invariably difficult for vulnerable children and need to be carefully managed with preparation and support.