Some children find it harder to settle into school and to flourish than others. This can be for many reasons, but it sometimes means that children may act out in the classroom or become withdrawn and disengaged. A Nurture Group, such as Willow Class, is an established way of helping children who need a bit more support to develop some of the skills they require to be successful in school. It is a small group of children of all ages, and is set up to look and feel like something halfway between home and school.
In Willow Class children are able to learn at their own levels, with lots of chances to catch up or to re-visit earlier forms of learning if this is what they need. Our Willow Class teacher is Ms. Davies, our manager is Mrs. Fincham and we also have another very experienced member of staff, Miss Molloy, in the group. All of our staff have been trained by the Nurture Group Network and have years of experience working with children with a variety of needs.
This high level of adult support enables us to work with children individually and in small groups to boost their confidence, develop their self-regulation, build their self-esteem and to fill in some of the gaps they may have in their learning or in their social and emotional development. The aim of the intervention is for children to return to their class full-time after three or four terms. To help them to reintegrate, a member of staff will work closely with these children, helping them to transfer what they have learnt back into their classroom environments. In the meantime, Willow Class members remain very much part of their mainstream class and will join them for many activities and some of their learning. We also work very closely with parents and welcome them as visitors to the group, coming in to spend time with their children and to help out.
For some children Willow Class works as an assessment class which allows them to access learning while we establish if there are any underlying special educational needs which need to be addressed for them to achieve their full potential. We work very closely with our own Speech and Language therapist, and also with our colleagues from the Education Psychology Service and the Social Communication Difficulties Advisory Service to ensure that children are properly assessed and supported.
What parents say:
"It's fun (and) an educational experience for me and the children!"
"They've come a long way since they've been here."
"(My child has) gained her confidence to learn in school."
What children say:
"It helps kids to calm down."
"They take kids in there who have had a hard day."