In this latest feature from our Inclusion Team, Gavin Hayman, Project Manager, discusses how to develop the nurturing approach; supporting children in developing self-esteem, a sense of belonging and resilience.
As many school leaders, teachers and parents will know, not all children are ready to meet the social and intellectual demands of school life. For a variety of reasons, some children miss essential early learning experiences that promote social development and readiness to learn. Adverse early attachment experiences can mean children hold a negative view of themselves and others and lack the essential prerequisite skills for learning in a classroom.
The significance of this is issue is reflected in the latest Ofsted inspection framework, where ‘developing pupils’ confidence, resilience and knowledge so that they can keep themselves mentally healthy’ is highlighted as a key performance indicator when judging the quality of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural education offered by the school.
No doubt, then, that children and young people should be given the chance to develop resilience or ‘academic buoyancy’ in order to manage the specific day to day challenges that school – and a life beyond school – can bring.
How can we go about this?
Research shows that a child is able to learn best when they have strong self-esteem, feel a sense of belonging and can meet challenges with resilience… but how can we promote this in our children?
- Identify and challenge negative emotions
We often reveal anxieties about learning (and anything else) through language, such as negative patterns of language or damaging self-talk (such as pre-emptive excuses to justify future failure). When you hear statements like, ‘I’m not clever enough to pass this test’ or ‘I’ve done my homework but it’s probably wrong’ it is worth – constructively – drawing attention to this negativity (the learner may not realise they are doing it) and explore how this negative self-talk could be stifling attainment.
- Focus on growth rather than attainment, effort rather than intellect
Setting goals can be a powerful approach, particularly when focused on doing better than last time or aiming to beat a personal best. Praising effort rather than innate ability reinforces the view that success is incremental. This all helps the learner understand where they need to improve.
- Adopt a Growth Mindset and a ‘can’t do it… yet’ approach!
It can take time to grasp complex concepts so emphasising this to the learner shifts the focus from ‘I can’t do it’ to ‘I can’t do it… yet’. This approach – adopted by individuals and across a school – will promote resilience and academic buoyancy. Adopting and holding firm to a growth mindset will help learners move beyond their most recent disappointment.
Developing a Nurturing Approach
One of the most effective ways we can support children to build resilience is by developing nurturing practices in school. By creating and delivering nurturing, positive attachment experiences, children can learn to develop age-appropriate behaviour and social skills, trust in adults, a readiness to learn and a positive sense of self.
A whole-school approach to nurture and the targeted use of nurture groups can address unmet early learning needs by enabling children to ‘re-experience’ positive attachments and early nurturing in a safe, predictable environment, providing opportunities to develop relationships, a more positive sense of self and better communication and learning skills.
Interested in learning more?
Our Nurture in Practice webinar outlines the principles of nurture and provides both a whole-school vision for embedding nurture plus practical, short-term ideas for focused interventions to use with children experiencing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties that create a barrier to learning within mainstream classes:
13:00 - 14:30
Click here to book your place today: https://www.nyestraining.co.uk/Event/130613