What is a Nurture Group?
Nurture groups are founded on evidence-based practices and offer a short-term, inclusive, focused intervention that works in the long term. Nurture groups are classes of between six and 12 children or young people in early years, primary or secondary settings supported by the whole staff group and parents. Each group is run by one or two qualified members of staff.
Children attend nurture groups but remain an active part of their main class group, spend appropriate times within the nurture group according to their needs and then return to class using the skills they have learned. Nurture groups assess learning and social and emotional needs and give whatever help is needed to remove the barriers to learning. There is great emphasis on language development and communication. Nothing is taken for granted and everything is explained, supported by role modelling, demonstration and the use of gesture as appropriate. The relationship between the staff, always nurturing and supportive, provides a role model that children observe and begin to copy.
Food is often shared at ‘snack time’ with much opportunity for social learning, helping children to attend to the needs of others, with time to listen and be listened to.
As the children learn academically and socially they develop confidence, become responsive to others, learn self-respect and take pride in behaving well and in achieving. Nurture groups have been working successfully for more than 40 years in the UK and have been praised, supported and recommended by organisations such as Ofsted, Estyn and HMIE.
Nurture at St Chad’s
Nurture groups run twice a week over lunchtimes and are led by Miss Keitch (intervention teacher). Depending on the needs of the children, sessions are attended by either KS1 or KS2 children. Teachers who have concerns about children in their class may put individuals forward to attend Nurture sessions and first complete a Boxall Profile which helps to identify specific areas of need and any barriers to learning. Through our Nurture sessions at St Chad’s we focus our attention on supporting children socially, emotionally and aim to build self-confidence which should then have a positive influence back in the classroom and sometimes at home. Nurture sessions take place within our Rainbow Retreat. Children welcome each other and discuss their feelings and any worries or concerns they may have. We often complete fun or relaxing activities and always end with a positive message for the rest of the day.
Nurture is not a place for “naughty” children, nor does it aim to reward undesirable behaviour. Instead, through Nurture sessions, we hope to support children with different needs and enable them to overcome any barriers to their learning or emotional wellbeing.
The Six Principles of Nurture
- Children's learning is understood developmentally
- The classroom offers a safe base
- The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing
- Language is a vital means of communication
- All behaviour is communication
- The importance of transition in children's lives
If you have any questions about Nurture sessions at St Chad’s, please contact Miss Keitch for further information.