As a whole school, we are part of the National Nurturing Schools Programme that helps staff develop and embed a nurturing culture and ethos throughout the school whilst promoting Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) outcomes for the whole school community. It focuses on children’s emotional needs and development alongside their academic learning, but most importantly, it encourages us all to reflect on and further develop our whole school Nurture provision. The following developments of our SEMH provision have come as a result of being part of this development program.
You may have heard about some recent changes to our school building over the summer, including the development of our brand-new Nurture Room. The Nurture Room is part of the school’s Inclusion and PSHE (Personal, Social, and Health Education) provision. Its purpose is to offer children opportunities to develop and further support their social and emotional development. There is a lot of research evidencing that children’s learning is most effective when they have a sense of emotional well-being, good self-esteem, and a feeling of belonging to their school community. The Nurture Room provides children with this opportunity and helps to develop their maturity and resilience.
This new space is in the School House area of our building and is open to all children every lunchtime from 12:30 – 1pm. Children are able to attend a lunchtime session throughout the week and Mrs Lingfield – who is our new Worry Buster - will be there to support them with any worries or questions they may have. Mrs Lingfield will keep a close eye on the Worry Box during the week and then use the Nurture lunch session to work alongside young people to further unpick any areas of anxiety or worry that they may be experiencing.
Alongside the Nurture Room being open at lunch, one of our school TA's Mrs. Robertson, very successfully completed her yearlong ELSA training at the end of last term and is now ready to get going! ELSAs are emotional literacy support assistants. They are teaching assistants who have had special training from educational psychologists to support the emotional development of children and young people in school. ELSAs have regular professional supervision from educational psychologists to help them in their work and are a true asset to any school. Mrs Robertson has begun working with some children across the school and these sessions take place in the brand-new Nurture Room each Tuesday.
We also have Sam Riches joining us, who is a Registered Play Therapist and will be working in the Nurture Room every Thursday afternoon. She will be working with one small group and individual children as the academic year develops. Sam is a very skilled professional who will further develop our own whole school SEMH understanding as well as supporting many children across the school.
Furthermore, we have also been able to add additional Forest School sessions for small groups on Tuesdays and the sessions this term, and it has been great to welcome Helen de Georgio from Righteous Oaks Forest School to our school. She has already transformed the school nature area and has fantastic plans for her sessions moving forward.
It certainly is an exciting time here at Wittersham, and it is a privilege to work alongside you all in making our well-being provision the best that it can be.
Please remember that my door is always open; we work best when we are working together for the success of your children.
Stella Coulson - Inclusion Leader