The Nurture Group is run by Mrs Joan Hutchinson and is a nurturing environment in which children who need some additional support join a small group within the school setting. The staff are specially trained to support children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. We are very proud to provide such a worthwhile service which is available to ALL pupils. We really appreciate the hard work of the children as well as the dedication of Mrs Hutchinson in making our Nurture Group a highly thought of example of good practice in this field.
Nurture Group offers a warm and structured environment, where children are encouraged to develop fine manipulative skills, confidence and learn good behaviour. Children receive structured time to play, as well as clear rules and coaching in basic social skills such as how to share or use manners. Praise and encouragement are in abundance.
The Nurture Group has been running in school since October 2008 and has proved to be very successful. The children selected to attend are thoroughly enjoying the sessions and their class teachers are making very positive comments about their progress. Their typical day includes many curriculum based activities. From these activities the children learn about co-operation, team work, our feelings, healthy lifestyles, respect and much more.
A Channel 4 programme has shown the effectiveness of Nurture Groups in schools. Woodthorpe C of E Primary School is very lucky to have such a group as only 4% of schools in the UK currently benefit from one.
In Nurture Group staff respond to children not in terms of arbitrary expectations about ‘attainment levels’ but in terms of the children’s developmental progress assessed through the Boxall Profile Handbook. The response to the individual child is ‘as they are’, underpinned by a non-judgemental and accepting attitude.
Nurture is important for the development of self-esteem
Nurture involves listening and responding. In a nurture group “everything is verbalised” with an emphasis on the adults engaging with the children in reciprocal shared activities e.g. play, meals, reading, talking about events and feelings. Children respond to being valued and thought about as individuals, so in practice this involves noticing and praising small achievements; “nothing is hurried in nurture groups”.
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. Nurture Group children often ‘act out’ their feelings as they lack the vocabulary to ‘name’ how they feel. In nurture groups the informal opportunities for talking and sharing, e.g. welcoming the children into the group or having snack 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.