At Bridgetown our Nurture Group is called The Aviary - a small, safe haven for the little “birds” from different classes to come to for some “nurturing”.
The Aviary is set up like a home - with a living room, kitchen, dining area and its own outdoor play area with potted garden.
The Nurture Lead is Mrs Newman and the Nurture Assistant is Mrs Pettifor.
The Aviary is built on the principle that the foundations of learning are emotional and social.
At Bridgetown we realise children cannot be forced to learn anything - effective teaching can only take place when it is underpinned by a socially cooperative and emotionally supportive environment.
The Aviary performs three key roles:
- runs a Nurture Group each morning
- carries out 1:1 sessions, with individual children throughout the School - these are 20 minute sessions once a week and usually run for six weeks
- is a drop in centre if a child is having a difficult moment and needs a bit of one-off additional support, out of the classroom setting.
At Bridgetown we understand that all behaviour is communication - we look beyond the explicit behaviour to see what might truly be going on for that child and help them develop the skills to better communicate their needs, thoughts and feelings.
In The Aviary, whether with the morning’s Nurture Group, in one to one sessions or on a one off drop-in basis, we focus on developing language and communication skills. We help the children develop their emotional literacy - being able to identify their feelings, to effectively communicate this and to realise they then have choices about how to deal with that emotion and how to behave.
To develop each child’s emotional literacy, in The Aviary, we:
- teach the children to acknowledge and identify their own feelings - “name it to tame it”
- talk about those feelings
- help each child understand the choices they have when they feel a particular emotion
- help each child imagine what other people might be feeling - developing empathy
- reinforce the Protective Behaviours vocabulary which the children learn in Class, based on the two key principles of:
- we all have the right to feel safe all the time
- we can talk with someone about anything, even if it feels awful or small.
A Secure and Safe Environment
The central aim of The Aviary is therefore to provide the children with a secure and safe environment, which provides the conditions necessary for them to develop emotionally, socially and cognitively. Parents very much work with the School in supporting this nurturing approach and realise, in the long run, it helps their child “fly” and better achieve their academic potential.