Meadowfield Nurture Group - Wildflowers
We are very pleased to be able to introduce our new specialist resource provision Wildflowers. The need for a specialist provision within Meadowfield was identified during 2017-2018 as part of our wide range of provision to meet social, emotional and mental health needs of identified pupils. We were able to access training through Virtual School Kent and then made a successful proposal for funding the initial pilot year to KCC.
As of September 2021, the Wildflowers nurture group has expanded. More in keeping with the NurtureUK model which aims to blend a mix of school and home, we now have a much larger room divided in to 3 spaces – 2 small work/activity rooms and a larger “living room” space with a reading corner, comfy cushions, rugs and throws, a chill out area, a dining area for snack times and two additional members of staff.
Nurture groups have an evidence-base in practice and offer a short-term, inclusive, focused intervention that works in the long term. Nurture groups are traditionally classes of between six and eight children or young people in early years, primary or secondary settings supported by the whole staff group and parents. However, we have found that a 1:1 ratio works best for the building of strong, trusting relationships, as well as allowing for an extremely child focused level of attention and support.
Children attend nurture groups but remain an active part of their main class group, they spend appropriate time within the nurture group according to their need and typically return full time to their own class within two to four seasonal terms. 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 shared at ‘breakfast’ or ‘snack time’ with many opportunities for social learning, helping children to attend to the needs of others, with time to listen and be listened to. Shared pleasurable experiences such as walking to the local park, baking/cooking and offsite visits also play a large part in the development of trusting, positive relationships as well as improving overall well-being and we are now able to resume more of these kinds of activities.
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.
The six principles of nurture groups: