Nurture refers to the care and attention that children are given while they are growing and developing. This helps to give them emotional resilience.
Nurture highlights the importance of social environments because if focuses on the people around a child and not the features that they were born with.
As well as that, nurture is also significant to our social-emotional skills, wellbeing and behaviour. This is important because it is shown that children and young people who have a good start in life have advantages over those who have missing or disturbed early attachments.
At Herringthorpe, we strive to help to develop the nurture of children as well by focusing on emotional growth that can help them to form positive relationships and firm boundaries.
The 6 Principles of nurture:
There are Six Principles of Nurture that should underpin any work or activities that people do to support the nurture of children and young people. They are designed as guidance so practitioners can understand the right kind of support to show children. The Six Principles of Nurture are:
1. We all learn in our own ways. Through this principle, practitioners understand that children develop at their own pace and in their own ways. It promotes a child-led approach by understanding a child’s stage of development and responding appropriately.
2. A classroom or school should be a safe space for children to be. The classroom and school offer a safe place for children where they feel secure and anxiety is contained. Children feel comfortable in their surroundings and there is a consistency of approach between staff in the school.
3. Nurture is important for wellbeing and self-esteem. Our school fosters an ethos that celebrates children to build self-esteem. Self-esteem can be developed in children by making each child feel valued and praising their achievements.
4. Language is a vital means of communication and using words to talk about how we feel is important. Language is understood to be vital as a way for children to communicate their feelings and emotions. Children should be supported in developing emotional literacy to help develop their skills in communicating how they are feeling, rather than acting out emotions in potentially inappropriate ways. We support our children through our Emotional Literacy Programme, ELSA.
5. All behaviour is communication, and we can use it to show how we feel. An understanding that challenging behaviour is often a child’s way of trying to communicate their emotions in some way. They could be displaying their frustration, anger, tiredness or excitement, for example. Understanding this principle is important for understanding how to respond to challenging behaviour in a supportive and restorative way.
6. Transition is important and significant to the lives of children and good nurture can help children to cope with change. Understanding that transitions can be challenging times for children. This includes the big transitions from starting nursery to moving on to school and then secondary school, but also giving consideration to the small everyday transitions that children experience. This could be as small as moving from one activity to another, moving from learning time to break time or a change in teacher.
What does nurture look like at Herringthorpe?
Nurture groups are a short-term intervention practice that can have really positive long-term effects on children. At Herringthorpe the nurture groups tend to be 1:1 or in small groups, depending on the focus and desired outcome. During our sessions we will focus on a specific area of the child’s emotional and social well being and incorporate this with activities to make the sessions enjoyable.
Children will attend their nurture session on a weekly basis, where possible, at the same time, each week. By attending a nurture session, our practitioners will be able to assess the emotional and social needs of a child and this will help them to give them the necessary support needed to remove any barrier to their learning. In most cases, the emotional and social need of the child has already been identified.
Our nurture session activities can include:
· Building bonds
· Modelling behaviours
· Emotional Literacy
· Relaxation techniques
· Managing emotions
During our nurture sessions we aim to focus on achieving the following outcomes:
· Improved attendance – we believe when children feel safe and nurtured in school, then they enjoy school and want to attend. This improves overall attendance.
· Better academic performance – as attendance improves our children perform better in school.
· Improved social and emotional skills – it is a priority to help build our children’s confidence and self-esteem. It has been proven to show that children who are more confident take more pride in their learning and presentation of their work. When confidence and self-esteem improves, children behave more positively in class and around our school environment. Improving their social and emotional skills can also help a child to become better at managing their emotions and empathise more with other children which can lead to forming more positive relationships with their peers.
· Whole school impact – nurture groups also have a positive effect on the whole school, this is because pupils become better at forming positive relationships with each other.
Even though nurture is very important in the early years of a person’s life, it is not a once in a lifetime experience, and missing or distorted early experiences can be overcome through the support of nurturing adults. At Herringthorpe, this support comes from all of our staff.
Our SEN room
Children may come to the SEN room to work in a small group or in a 1:1 session with a member of our pastoral team.
Our sensory room
Children may use the sensory room if they are finding the school environment too much. This is a quiet and calm space for children to come and spend time with an adult discuss and exploring their thoughts and feeling.
If you would like to find out further information about our nurture support or feel your child would benefit from some addition support please call school and speak to our pastoral team.