It has been great to welcome the children back after the Christmas break. But we know it's hard to get back into a routine again after having such a lovely time at home.
To help children who struggle with change to transition back into embracing and enjoying school we have been involved in some really fun activities in the Nurture sessions.
here are just a few photos to show you the wide range of things we do.
For some Year 5 children with medium to high sensory needs we had fun making food out of air dry dough.
Sensory activities are a great way to support anxious children and children struggling to manage big emotions or overwhelming circumstances. We are never too old to enjoy the pleasure of malleable materials such as dough, clay, putty or slime.
We also made tactile fabric and wool letters and spiders webs with other children.
One child even made a dough PS5 whilst another stayed with the food theme and made a Beef burger.
MAKING CHRISTMAS BAUBLES
The children I see weekly have had a great time making baubles to hang on their trees at home. They have carefully chosen what to put inside and which materials to use.
On Friday 22nd October we are going to raise money for Winston's Wish, a charity that supports grieving children and we are hoping to raise a little money for our own decorative memory garden here at school. We have also installed a memory Tree in the main corridor. We felt this was a lovely way for the children to be able to add a tag to the tree in memory of a loved one with a little message. The children will be arriving in wellies and non-uniform tomorrow and donating £1.00
We are also running a design a pair of wellies competition and there are prizes for nominated designs from each class and a special prize for the best staff pair of wellies.
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
TERM 1 NURTURE ACTIVITIES
As we approach the end of term and to celebrate working so hard we have been enjoying some fun Halloween activities. The children have decorated pumpkin biscuits, made decorated pumpkins and jeweled skeleton heads. The children were delighted to participate in "fun, down-time " sessions. The children also always receive huge benefit from sensory activities.
Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain's pathways , which lead to the child's ability to complete more complex learning tasks. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and motor skills, problem solving skills and social interaction.
Some of the Year 5 girls have been making posters to remind them of how they can find CALM when feeling overwhelmed, stressed or worried. What do you think to their CALM posters? They all have different things that can help them to find their inner calm.
Nurture at Westgate forms a fundamental part of our values and beliefs.
The Nurture Room, known as The Nest, is a place within the school where children can be given freedom to express themselves and the tools to become more resilient, more adaptable and able to manage their experiences and emotions successfully.
Miss Fox delivers The main Nurture groups where children’s learning styles, social and emotional needs and emotional literacy are assessed. Children are given the necessary help to remove barriers to learning and enable them to embrace and enjoy their school day. Nurture in our school places great emphasis on language development and communication. Our nurturing approach recognizes that positive relationships are central to both learning and well-being. Children may attend sessions in a Nurture Group for specific reasons, such as: Social communication difficulties – maintaining friendships in a positive manner, managing big emotions or improving behaviour for learning. Children are taught emotional literacy and then feel more empowered to communicate how they are thinking and feeling. Bespoke sessions are available for children with specific areas of difficulty such as: Trauma or Attachment difficulties, Anxiety, Managing Anger or Self-Esteem. Children who have been identified for support may attend sessions for 6-8 weeks, a whole term or longer. All of our Nurture provision is carefully assessed by our SEN, Nurture and Pastoral staff.
Our nurturing approach has a key focus on the school environment and emphasizes the balance between care and challenge which incorporates warmth and connection alongside structure, high expectations and a focus on achievement and attainment.
Miss Pearce is our Behaviour and Pastoral Mentor. She provides daily guidance and a safe space for pupils who need regular support. Miss Pearce works in the Zone where pupils can have Time out, reflect, re-set and then re-join their learning successfully. Pupils may also access the Zone for specific support such as Friendship worries, bereavement support or require daily check-ins to assist their mental health and well-being. Children and their families may be supported by school alone or with other multi-agency professionals.
Miss Bell is our Family Support Officer, who provides a link between school and home. This enables carers and families to share concerns which are then managed by our STAN Team or signposted to the correct agency
All our Nurture staff work alongside the School SENDCO, Teaching Team and with other external agencies, such as Early Help, Social Care, Healthy Minds, CAMHS and the Educational Psychology Team.
Here is what some of our pupils said about their Nurture sessions at Westgate.
Girl in Year 3: "Wednesday is now the most fun day for me as I have my Nurture session."
Girl in Year 4: "I am so happy when I get up on a Thursday as I know later I will go to Miss Fox for our session."
Girl in Year 4: "Miss Fox is cheerful and happy all the time, she's a nice person and super fun."
Boy in Year 5: "I can come and talk to you and you help me make sense of my thoughts."
Girl in Year 5: " Thank you, the things you tell me are really helpful and you give me lots of ideas to help keep me calm and focused. I try out lots of the things you suggest at home which help me manage my anxiety."
Boy in Year 4: "You always make me feel calm."
Girl in Year 3: "I love spending time with you."
Boy in Year 5: "I can talk to you about everything and that helps a lot."
Boy in Year 5: "I think I am getting much better at regulating and managing my emotions."
Girl in Year 5: " I am very stubborn but do you remember my last meltdown? Well I haven't had one since and I feel I learned a lot about myself that afternoon."
Year 4 girls group: "It's so calm, you can chat about your worries, sometimes it's 1:1, sometimes we are in a group."
Year 4 girl: You get to do things that take your mind off all your worries and thoughts and distract you."
DINOSAURS AND HOW WE CAN RELATE THEM TO HUMANS!
With some of the boys groups we have been looking at Dinosaurs and how they all have different strengths. We have discussed how sometimes those strengths can hinder them or make things trickier for them at times. The boys have also reflected on their own strengths, physical attributes and characters. Some discussions included whether they are quick and energetic like Raptors or slow and steady like a lot of the Herbivores. We have also discussed how being the biggest and strongest doesn't always make you the best.
The groups have participated in various sensory dinosaur related activities which have included: making fossils from salt dough, painting dinosaurs and using play dough to show the different markings, horns and plates on dinosaurs.
The Year 6 girls understand and realise the value of positive self talk and how this can help shape their day. How you talk to yourself really matters!
POSITIVITY IS ONE OF OUR SCHOOL VALUES along with SELF-BELIEF
A child in Year 5 often struggles to stay positive and believe in himself. This then affects how he feels and his behaviour. Today, he has made his own Positivity Jar which he is going to fill with positive words, comments and affirmations. Adults who work with him may also add positive comments and statements into the jar or highlight his special qualities too. We hope that he will feel happy when he looks at his jar and be reminded of all the great things he has achieved when he reads the slips.
Positivity jars can be a great way to boost children's self esteem. Reading back positive comments can be a great tool to remind children of wonderful things they have achieved or what special comments people have written about them.
Try making one at home?
You will need:
An old jar
Slips of paper or card