We believe that the development of the whole child is integral to pupils overcoming their personal barriers to learning. At Ash Hill we run a nurture group which is called The Nest. This takes place on Monday and Friday afternoons in our library, and is set up with a dining room table and chairs. The Nest is a small class of eight children and is a structured and predictable place where pupils are enabled to feel emotionally safe and secure.
The sessions are planned to take account for the social, emotional and learning needs of each child with the aim of developing their capacity to be integrated positively within their peer group.
The principles of the nurture programme are:
- Children’s learning is understood developmentally
- Our Nurture Room (The Nest) is a safe place
- Nurture is important for self-esteem
- Language is a vital means of communication
- We understand that all behaviour is communication
- We understand the importance of carefully planned transition in children’s lives.
During the sessions in The Nest an emphasis is placed on building up self-esteem and improving confidence which is achieved through carefully planned sessions. As the children’s self-esteem grows they are able to solve problems, embrace new experiences and are more able to face challenges.
Positive relationships are modelled through staff interactions, with an emphasis on developing communication skills, and there is a high percentage of child / adult interaction. An important part of the afternoon is snack time, where the group sit around the table, prepare snacks and drinks and then enjoy group conversation around the table. This encourages key thinking, listening and speaking skills.
Parents are invited to become fully involved in the nurture programme and are invited into The Nest for celebrations of the children’s progress, including afternoon tea which is served to them by the children.