The Den - Nurture Provision at Grimes Dyke

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Nurture Group takes place in the The Den 4 afternoons a week, Children stay in class on a Wednesday. The nurture group is for selected children in Year 1. It is run by Miss O’Brien who is trained and qualified in ‘Working in Nurturing Settings’ which is supported by Nurture Group Network.

Nurture group rooms are carefully arranged to include the best of both classroom and home furniture. They are designed to be warm and welcoming in order to provide a consistent, predictable and safe place for children. Nurture group rooms are set up to be a bridge between home and school or nursery, where missed learning opportunities are addressed according to the individual profile of needs. The Den is therefore set up with a table which is used for sharing snacks as well as art and craft work, a carpeted area for talking together in circle time, sharing books and games together, a kitchen area for easy preparation of afternoon snack and play resources suitable for a variety of age ranges. The Den will also have access to the outdoor area, the pond and a garden and is enjoyed by the children throughout the year.

What is the purpose of the nurture group?

There is much research evidence that “A child can only learn when they feel happy and safe to do so”- and 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 Den provides children with this opportunity and so helps to develop their maturity, confidence and resilience.

Our nurture group is a small class of around eight pupils. Its composition is carefully well thought-out to create a well-balanced and functional group. The nurture group is part of the school’s Inclusion and PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) provision. Its purpose is to offer children opportunities to re-visit early learning skills, promote and support their social and emotional development.

The Den is a place of learning, but less focus on the curriculum and more on developing social and emotional skills.

 The seven principles:

  • We need to feel safe and secure in our setting
  • Our learning is understood developmentally
  • We learn through exploration, play and leisure activities.
  • Secure attachment will develop our self-image and self-awareness
  • Nurture facilitates language and communication skills
  • All behaviour is communication
  • Change is managed in a planned and sensitive way

 Before children attend nurture provision parents are informed by letter and invited to attend an open afternoon where they can meet the staff and ask any questions.

 Which children attend Nurture Group?                                                           

Children may attend sessions in the Nurture Group for specific reasons, for example:

  • Friendship difficulties – keeping/making friends
  • Quiet, shy, withdrawn
  • Find it hard to listen to others or join in
  • Disruptive towards others
  • Find it hard to accept losing a game
  • Find it hard to share and take turns
  • Find it a bit difficult to settle into class
  • Bullying
  • Low self esteem / confidence
  • Poor relationships with adults in school/home
  • Loss or bereavement
  • Family illness or break-up
  • Unable to talk about their feelings

 How will the nurture group help my child?  

Nurture group will boost confidence and self-esteem and provide children with the extra help sometimes needed to improve social skills and independence for example:                                                

  • To join in 
  • To sort out difficulties they may be having
  • To listen and to concentrate
  • To share and take turns
  • To accept losing a game
  • To build up friendships with their classmates
  • It gives them a chance and helps to encourage a more positive attitude

 Does this mean my child is naughty? 

No, these sessions are meant to help them manage situations and increase their skills to become more successful learners.

 How long will my child be in Nurture Group for?  

Children attend for a period of 2 full terms and begin to gradually transition back in to class in term 3, however we ensure that the children do not miss special events, guests in school, outings or anything else that may be different from the normal routine of the week.

Are parents/carers involved?      

Special event invitations are sent out to join us throughout the year for example; open afternoon or simply for afternoon tea and a chat.

 An afternoon in Nurture Group

A typical afternoon session in The Den would include the following: The children are brought from their classes at 1.30pm with a member of staff.

The afternoon starts with the Den staff greeting the children as they arrive and completing their own emotional check in.

Next is into the quiet area where the children sit on a comfy sofa or cushions for news time. These sessions offer children a chance to speak in a safe structured non – threatening way, explore thoughts and feelings and listen to others. The plans for the afternoon are then shared so that the children know exactly what to expect.

The next part of the afternoon is a planned activity focusing on the skills the children need to work on e.g. taking turns, discussing and role playing a situation, learning a new game to share with friends.

Then the children move onto more guided activities may include painting, making or baking. Here the children are given an opportunity to complete a task which they can feel proud of and to work co-operatively with others in the group.

Throughout the session the children work on their individual social and emotional targets and are reminded what they have to continue to work on these back in class.

There are many opportunities for the children to enjoy a game together or listen to some relaxing music with a cushion and a soft toy, to comment on enjoyment and feelings, to ask questions and to listen attentively.

Towards the end of the session is when the children have a drink and snack. This is usually juice or hot chocolate with toast, biscuits, crumpets or a piece of fruit and of course a cake when it is someone’s birthday. The ‘snack’ time is at the heart of this practice when the children and adults sit together and share food and talk. Before and after snack time the children are given roles to assist in the setting up and clearing away helping them to develop responsibilities to carry out their jobs making them feel important and part of a team.

The final part of the afternoon is time to relax and share a story book before saying our goodbyes for the day.


The Den

Nurture Provision at Grimes Dyke