At Woodrow First School our aim is to ensure that we provide an inclusive, creative curriculum that can be accessible to all. For a small minority of children the demands of a mainstream classroom can be overwhelming. At Woodrow first school we are able to provide Key stage 1 and 2 Nurture groups called ‘Smarties’ for those children who find the daily demands of mainstream challenging.
All Nurture groups are based on the 6 principles of Nurture which is implemented throughout school through the following:
1) Learning is understood developmentally
In the Nurture group we plan activities that are similar to those in their mainstream class to support with later reintegration. Activities are manageable and achievable by all the children and where possible activities are tailored to the children’s individual needs to fill in any learning gaps.
Regular meetings with classroom teachers ensure that both settings provide the children with a consistent learning environment using the same learning resources and teaching strategies.
2) The classroom offers a safe base
Each classroom layout is carefully thought out so that the children can access the room freely and independently. In each classroom children are provide with a quiet/calm area that they can access when they feel anxious.
Where possible the daily routine is kept consistent, this helps children to regulate their anxiety of change. Working alongside the classroom teachers we provide children with the same consistent visual time table to support them with the daily classroom routine.
3) Nurture is important for the well-being of children.
At Woodrow first school we understand the importance of developing children’s well-being. As a school children are involved in different activities to engage them with listening and responding. The adults in school continually model to the children how to talk with another and they engage with the children’s games and activities. The children are provided with plenty of time to complete each task/activity and are regularly reassured by the adult that they will have time to go back and finish, whether its finishing a model made or completing a sentence they are writing. Children are continually provided with praise and encouragement; no achievement is too small for praise.
4) Language is a vital means of communication
The adults in school model positive communication from the simplest greeting at the door to more advance communication skills such as asking each other relevant questions. In the school we provide opportunities to discuss children’s behaviour through emotions. ‘I can see that you are feeling very angry today, this is because X will not share the toy.’ Explaining to children about their emotions helps the children to develop a better understanding. In school you can see many different emotion charts that help support, regulate and communicate emotions.
5) All behaviour is communication
As a school we have high expectations of the children’s behaviour. We all work together so that we have a whole school consistent approach to the expectations of our children. We give children the opportunity to be independent in their own thinking of right and wrong. In school we encourage children to be responsible for their actions and behaviour. As a school we believe that in Woodrow we must be SAFE, READY and RESPECTFUL. Classes can work together to achieve a whole class celebration for demonstrating these. As a school we also understand that a child can express challenging behaviour. This behaviour is their way of communicating their feelings and frustrations. We work with the child to support them.
6) The importance of transition in children’s lives
We understand that children can find transitions difficult and become anxious. As a school we understand the importance of making a positive transition. When children integrate into the Nurture group or reintegrate into their mainstream classroom we provide a slow process that it tailored to the child’s needs. Children will make many transitions throughout the day. Where it is necessary, children are prepared for these transitions using individual timetables and the classroom visual timetables.
Reasons for referral
A Nurture group is a Wave 3 intervention. When a child has been provided with wave 1 quality first teaching and wave 2 intervention and are still not making the expected progress class teachers can explore other options. A child’s barrier to learning maybe social and emotional and therefore a teacher may refer if they see the following:
The child is
restless, has difficulties maintaining focus and struggles to listen
behaves impulsively and/or aggressively when frustrated
is withdrawn, unresponsive and struggles to relate to others
is known from recent history to be vulnerable or at risk
When children are referred to the Nurture group we ask the class teacher to fill in a referral form to provide background information on the child. We then ask the class teacher to complete a Boxall profile to help build up a pupil profile on entry.
This details key information about:
referrals to outside agencies such as Community Pediatrician, Educational Psychologist, Speech Therapist and Occupational Therapist
any recommendations from outside agencies
Boxall Profile details
The Boxall Profile is used to assess children’s social and emotional development. It is carried out at the point of referral and then termly afterwards.
The Pupil Reintegration Scale is completed on entry and again when later to assess the appropriateness of reintegration. This is so that we are able to see the progress the child has made from the entry to exit. This also helps support us in making appropriate targets aimed at their classroom needs.
Children receive a journal each and this is where children can display their work. The journal will contain pictures and their own work. The journals show the journey the children have taken to make progress within the Nurture group.
Nurture group day and curriculum
Each day children are greeted by a member of staff in Smarties and registered.
The children have opportunities to access the activities provided. Staff use this time to interact with the children and to work 1:1 or in small groups on specific targets. Learning based around the National Curriculum will be dependent on the developmental stage of the individuals. There is less emphasis on pace and more of a focus on the Nurture Curriculum. The priority is to re-engage the children in their learning. Planned opportunities encourage sharing, turn taking and co-operative play. Throughout the session conversation is promoted and modelled by the adults. Adults will also model positive relationships. Snack time is an important time for sharing news and asking questions. During the session there is time to reflect on how the children are feeling and explore ways to support and manage different emotions. Each session will include some type of physical activity. This may outdoor play, bikes and scooters, the trim trail, swimming or PE.
A child is expected to attend the Nurture group for 2-4 terms.This time can be reduced or extended depending on the child. When children have reintegrated back into mainstream class we understand the importance of providing a constant adult and maintain a positive relationship with the children. Each Friday the children have lunch in Smarties for a general catch up about their school week.
Parents/carers are invited weekly to join their child/children to engage in a variety of activities. The activities give parents the chance to communicate and develop relationships with their children in a creative and positive way. Building positive relationships is vital to Nurture group and is part of the six principles of nurture. Stay and Play provides parents the opportunity to meet other parents and develop in their own social skills; working with other adults and children.
Stay and Play is beneficial to both parents and staff. It helps Nurture staff to present and model to children positive relationships. Working with parents gives staff a better understanding of the child/children in the Nurture group. Within the sessions staff and parents/carers are able to share information and strategies and see these put in place. It is a chance for parents/carers to share background information and home life. Stay and Play is popular amongst our parents with positive feedback from the group.
In Smarties the children have enjoyed inviting the whole of their Key Stage to join them for breakfast. This activity ensures that the children have a sense of belonging and shows the rest of their peers that they are part of their Key Stage.
Each month the children enjoy taking a trip to the local library and enjoy being independent in choosing a book, taking it out and bringing it back to school. The staff at the library look forward to the children attending and love to share their favourite books with the children. On several occasions we have invited the parents to join in our library visit and show parents how they can make the most out of their local library.
The children have shown a great interest in caring and looking after animals and have a close link with the RSPCA. Smarties have been lucky enough to have a visit from the organisation.
The children take a great interest in visiting and walking around the local community. The children have helped with the planning and organisation of a visit to the local park for a picnic.
The children have used their writing skills and invited our local community police officers to school to join them for breakfast. The children were able to show their beautiful manners and were very accommodating to our visitors. As a result they were given the opportunity to explore a police car.
All children at Woodrow love reading to Ozzy the dog and he usually makes weekly visits to our school. The children in Smarties enjoyed walking to Tudor Grange to visit Ozzy and to look around the local high school. The children were even able to sit in a geography lesson.