New nurture area at Freshwaters Primary

Burnt Mill Academy / Tue 22nd Sep 2015 at 09:21am

CHILDREN who struggle with social, emotional or personal difficulties are being nurtured at a Harlow primary school.

A big part of the curriculum laid out for nursery and reception age children is to develop and guide their mental wellbeing.

But, when children enter Year 1, it is no longer a criteria laid down by education authorities.
At Freshwaters Primary Academy, in School Lane, however, it is seen as a huge priority right through until children leave them in Year 6.

A new nurture area has been set up for those children, in any year group, who may be struggling with friendships or to cope with school or home life to spend time in the quiet area developing vital life skills.

Marios Solomonides, head of school, said: “In reception, when children hurt each other or are mean to one another, we say it is all part of their development and learning process and it is our job to teach them how to resolve their problems and respond to each other. In Year 1, we suddenly expect them to be adult and be able to do that.

“Children develop at different paces so of course that nurturing needs to continue for longer. Our view is, if a child leaves reception having not met expectations for personal, social or emotional development, we must keep working with them until they do. Otherwise, you end up with children in Years 5 and 6 struggling with friendships, handling their aggression or their learning because they have not been nurtured to handle the situation earlier.

“The idea is to offer our children an area which isn’t a classroom, but is a space for them to explore and develop their social, emotional and personal skills. We also have an early years co-educator working with Year 1 and 2 to focus on those children who still need to develop their social and emotional skills. That is our commitment.”

The nurture area, which is intended to have a homely feel, is complete with kitchen, dining and lounge area.

Mr Solomonides said: “We have only just set up the nurture area and already it is having an impact. There is far less disruption around the school.

“Two children spent some time in there with a learning mentor, making and eating apple crumble. They were so proud of what they had achieved. For some, this may be the only opportunity they have to sit around a table and share a meal, to talk about their day, their thoughts and feelings. Some do not have that experience at home.”

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