At Sundridge & Brasted we think it is important to put nurture at the heart of all we do, nurturing the children so they can shine and meet their full potential. We are delighted to have been awarded the Nurture UK Accreditation in July 2023, with many examples of excellent practice being cited in the assessment report.
A parent said, "it's the energy and how people vibe, it makes my child feel comfortable and safe."
One parent said, "the school may be there for the child but they've held our hands."
Tom Hardwick (Headteacher) said, "all connections come from a place of relationships."
The Six Principles of Nurture at Sundridge & Brasted
(based on 'Supporting Children Post Lockdown Using the Six Principles of Nurture'
by Tamsin Grimmer, December 2020)
Children’s learning is understood developmentally - We all learn in different ways
Every child is unique and as such, we need to think about their age and development as individuals and ensure that our practice in school develops to be appropriate for each and every child.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) states: every child is a unique child, children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships, children learn and develop well in enabling environments and children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
This leads us to focus on wellbeing and nurturing and ensuring that we provide activities and experiences which are appropriate for each child rather than a broad stroke approach to all. We also support children’s wellbeing by providing calm and safe spaces, sensory activities and we teach mindfulness such as breathing techniques and yoga activities. We have emotions charts in each class and support all children to talk openly about emotions and feelings.
The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing - Our wellbeing is valued
Wellbeing is at the core of our nurture ethos and practice and resonates throughout our teaching and in our relationships between children, staff and families. We provide a supportive emotional environment throughout the school:
All behaviour is communication - We support all behaviours
We all communicate through our actions and behaviour as well as through our language, both consciously and subconsciously. We understand that the behaviour we see in children may reflect a lot more than just their behaviour at that moment. There will be a lot going on inside them that is being expressed as negative or challenging behaviour such as acting aggressively or being quiet and withdrawn, but this tells us that the child could be communicating all manner of feelings: anger, hunger, tiredness, a need for love, being overwhelmed, loneliness, wanting a toy, a friend, a connection to somebody and showing their big emotions and not knowing how to deal with them. A change in behaviour is also key and indicative of new and tricky feelings.
The classroom offers a safe base - We feel safe
Attachment is an emotional bond with someone and an essential part of children's healthy development. This nurture principle reflects the understanding of the attachment theory and leads us to ensure that our school is a safe and nurturing space for all children. Our school is a secure base for our children but nonetheless, how securely attached a child feels will directly influence their behaviour. The environment in which children grow up and the nurturing environment they know all makes a difference to their emotional development. We all know that children who have a good start in life have significant advantages over those who have experienced adverse childhood experiences or trauma, or those who have had difficulty forming secure attachments. In most cases, children who do have a better star in life will go on to do better at school, they will attend regularly, form more meaningful friendships and are significantly less likely to be involved in crime or experience physical or mental health problems. By understanding the attachment theory we can then understand why children behave in the way that they do be it in a positive or negative way and this in itself leads us to be better aware and more sensitive to the the child's emotional needs. We understand that the external influences the children experience such as relationships, poverty, neglect, stress, and their emotional environment can negatively affect children and this helps us plan more effectively for them and use appropriate strategies to support them – intervening early if need be. We adapt our expectations and use a range of strategies to intervene sensitively and appropriately.
Language is a vital means of communication - Our emotions are understood
An essential part of nurturing children is being able to communicate with them in a way that they understand and can respond to and that reassures them that they are are being heard. We all use a range of techniques to communicate, often without consciously being aware that we do this. For example, we gesticulate, use body language, posture and eye contact to enhance our speech, often using these techniques more effectively than our language. However, we do not assume that children know about this and will automatically understand the changes we make in school or the new procedures we implement. We know that we should share these changes with the children, communicating clearly and effectively and explaining the reasons as to why we need to change things. Communicating with our families is also important so that they may reinforce our messages by talking to the children at home.
The importance of transition in children's lives - We are prepared for change
It is easy for us all to underestimate the impact that transitions have on a child's wellbeing. Adults would usually find transitions easy to deal with and can forget that such times may present a range of difficulties and stress for children. Our staff understand that it's not always the really big events or times that will have the biggest impact on our children; it may be the small things that are really big for them and this is key to understanding the children and supporting them. It may be that arriving at school late and walking into class is tricky or walking into the hall for lunch or not sitting with friends is a big problem for some children, and not for others.
It is important for us to try to see the world and our school, and school day through the children’s eyes to understand how they feel and what will affect them most and make provision to ensure they are supported at difficult times.