Our fundamental belief is that a happy child is a child who is going to be the child that succeeds both socially and academically. Therefore we put the children's well-being at the forefront of everything we do and we monitor this constantly. During Pupil Progress meetings each child's well-being is discussed and, if any barriers to their learning are identified, we provide a nurture intervention.
The interventions we identify include:
Parents / Carers will be contacted if children are attending 1:1 or groups sessions either by their class teacher or by Nurture Lead.
Mental health is a huge priority and on some occasions we seek support from outside of school. We work closely with families and external agencies to ensure children receive the best support possible. Because of the current Covid-19 affected situation, we had to put in place further measures to ensure the school is Covid safe and done our upmost to keep it as normal as we possibly can under the circumstances. We are however aware that it is very strange for everyone not to be able to meet in the playground each morning or have a quick chat with the teaching team at the beginning or the end of the day and that can be unsettling for parents. In this respect, we are focusing even more on the children's general wellbeing with the following measures:
When the register is taken at the beginning of the day and after lunch, we include a wellbeing register. How this works is that the children simply provide the teacher with a number between 1 and 10 (1 being low and 10 being high). When and if a child gives a number that is considerably lower to what they normally say it alerts the teaching team to the situation and they are then able to chat to the individual about what is bothering them. We have been doing this for a number of years and it is very effective and obviously now more so than ever.
As part of the statutory national curriculum, children receive a weekly Personal Social Health Education lesson. This covers a range of themes across the year include ‘Being me in My World’ and ‘Relationships’. Usually at this stage of the year we would just be covering ‘Being me in My World’; however, in order to provide further support for the children, the teachers are going to be covering ‘Relationships’ (taken from the previous year curriculum which they missed due to Lockdown). This covers friendships, family relationships, conflict resolution and communication skills. One of the reasons we have chosen to do this is that the children are adapting to spending extended period of times with their peers. Usually after a typical summer holiday children can take a couple of days to reconnect with friends. Occasionally the dynamics of friendships will change as they get older and develop different interests. We therefore have anticipated that some children would be finding this aspect of school difficult and possibly upsetting. These lessons along with other support should help children understand and positively reconnect with their friends.
Monday Class Assembly
In the past we have always held assembly between 10.30 and 11.00 except on Fridays. This year we have moved their Class Assembly to first thing on Monday morning. This is an opportunity to talk about the week, discuss what they are looking forward to as well as identifying the value of the week and what this might look like at for them. It is an opportunity for the class to come together at the beginning of the week and share how things are going in general.
Each class has a worry box which allows children to write down anything that is bothering them. It can be anonymous or they can put their name on it. This is checked daily and allows the teaching team or member of SLT to support individual children who are more comfortable are writing down their anxieties rather than sharing them verbally.
Each classroom has an area that is designated as a calm area. One thing we have recognised is that some children are at times feeling quite overwhelmed being back in classroom with 29 others. We have provided them with a space so that they can go and sit quietly for a short period of time.
Zones of Regulation
Our teaching teams have been trained in Zones of Regulation. The idea of the Zones is that it teaches children how to self-regulate when they are experiencing high levels of emotion. Each classroom has these displayed to allow children to understand their feelings and to learn how to manage these feelings. This is displayed in a calm area of the classroom.
For many years we have applied Brain Gym. Over lockdown I sent you some material to give you some ideas for this (attached below). It provides children with short periods of time during their lessons where they get up and move, getting the blood flow up and allowing them to have a concentration break. Whilst we are adjusting back into full days of lessons we are using movement breaks more frequently.
Calm and Friendship Benches
Following our brilliant ‘Not the Summer Fair’ fundraising drive, we have been able to purchase a number of things for school including some new benches for the playground. Many of you will have noticed two benches in two zones of the playground area. These are for children who want to have quiet time during playtime and lunchtime. The Friendship bench will be assigned, when it arrives, to support children who are feeling lonely and want a friend to talk to. Friendship ambassadors will be assigned to each bubble.
Being part of a small school is a real luxury as it means everyone is really aware of everyone else. We have an exceptional and caring teaching team who have been working brilliantly together over the past few weeks. We have spoken to the children about all the adults who can help them and who are them to make them feel safe. The children have identified that it is not only their class teachers, but Mrs Foster, Patch, Mr D, Mrs Wilson, Miss Amor, Ms Knights, Theresa and all the lunchtime staff and as one Year One child pointed out “even you, Miss Mair”. They really do have a lot of adults that they can turn to if they are in need. We talked about them thinking about who that might be for them and to know that if they want to speak to these people they can.
Finally, we have a number of Nurture Groups running. These are a range including:
Play-based Nurture – Year 1 & 2
Art Nurture – Year 3 & 4
Drama Nurture – Year 5 & 6
Nurture sessions with Mrs Foster.
In addition to this we have been offered some therapy sessions for children who are particularly anxious post lockdown.