Nurture Principles Unpacked
In a school context, Nurture is about the social environment you are in - Who you are WITH, rather than Who you are born to.
The social environment influences social and emotional skills, wellbeing and behaviour. In SMRP School, Nurture supports children who have experienced missing or distorted early attachments. Strong, early attachments are the bedrock of how future relationships are formed.
1 Children's learning is understood developmentally
Start with where the child is, not where the adult thinks they should be. We have an accepting attitude towards all children whatever their age and stage of development. We celebrate progress from every individual starting point.
2 The classroom offers a safe base
Organising the classroom space and the way it is managed, helps children contain anxiety.
Strong yet flexible daily routines, a specific place for personal items, understanding how the day unfolds through visual timetable or cues, trusting relationships between adults and children all help to establish the idea "I belong, I am safe here."
3 Nurture is important for the development of wellbeing
A significant part of Nurture is listening - really listening, and responding.
Children need to be noticed and acknowledged both for effort and achievement. Noticing can be by using words (eg "That was hard for you, thank you for persevering") or by eye contact and smile, or an agreed appropriate hand signal. Nurture can be as simple as paying full attention, playing a game together, spending time in a child-chosen topic of conversation, not hurrying interactions.
4 Language is understood as a vital means of communication
Language is a way of putting words to feelings and emotions.
At SMRP School, we teach children greetings with our Wonderful Welcome, words to name emotions, turn-taking in conversations, respecting another person's point of view, how to disagree politely. Our curriculum teaches the acquisition of vocabulary. Words bring thoughts to life.
5 All Behaviour is Communication
When adults understand that children's behaviour is a way of communicating their feelings, adults respond differently to challenging behaviour.
We ask ourselves "What is this child trying to tell me?" We respond with Acceptance of where they are, and Empathy - "I'm sorry this is hard for you. I wonder what's happening for you?" "I can help you."
When the child senses that they are understood, then they can begin to move beyond the current difficulty. The adult makes the link between the child's internal and external worlds.
6 Transitions are significant in the lives of children
Transition is a process, not an event.
During the school day there are many transitions! Coming to school from home, going out to play, moving between the different spaces around our school. Then there are the big transitions - changing year group, leaving primary school, and managing change in family life. Familiar School Adults help children to manage changes in school routine or to work with a different adult. The key is good preparation and support.