What does it take to develop healthy, happy, confident children who are ready and open to learning?
In our school we have begun to use the Thrive Approach which provides a powerful way of working with children and young people that supports optimal social and emotional development.
What is the Thrive Approach?
Children cannot always put their needs into words, but the way children behave can tell us a lot about how they are feeling. In the old days children who were finding life hard were sometimes given harmful labels, like 'naughty' or 'very shy'.
The Thrive Approach draws on the latest research -from current neuroscience, recent attachment research, current studies of effective learning and current models of child development – in order to help the school to understand the needs being signalled by children's behaviour. It gives us targeted strategies and activities to help them re-engage with learning and life.
Why do we need Thrive?
Unfortunately, like all of us at some point in our lives, children may face challenges that knock them off course. What is needed then is understanding and support to get them back on track. Many children will respond to the care, understanding and support given by parents, family, friends and teachers. However, some children need a little bit extra.
What extra support can we offer?
Children who need a little bit of extra help are identified through our whole-class screening process, by class teachers, or through communication with families or outside agencies. For some children there may be an obvious reason why they need a bit of extra support. This might be bereavement, family break down or an identified medical condition such as ADHD. For others, there can be no obvious trigger to why they are finding some aspects of school and/or home life difficult.
Working closely with parents and class teachers, our Thrive Practitioner carries out full assessments of identified children's social, emotional and behavioural needs. This helps us to build a bespoke Thrive Action Plan of activities to support their needs.
What is a Thrive Action Plan?
A Thrive Action Plan is plan of activities tailored to support a child's identified social and emotional learning targets. The activities are one-to-one and small group relational, play and arts-based activities designed to help the child feel better about himself; become more resilient and resourceful; form trusting, rewarding relationships; be compassionate and empathetic; and/or be able to overcome difficulties and setbacks. They might include playing in the sand, cooking, painting, model making, exploring difficult situations through role-play or comic strips, playing strategy games or projects focusing on the child's own interests.
Action Plans are shared with parents and they are encouraged to do some of the activities at home if possible. They are reviewed regularly to see the progress children have made.
So who gets Thrive?
For many children across the school, Thrive time is considered a real treat! Who wouldn't want to spend half an hour a week with the one-to-one attention of a caring adult doing play activities when the rest of their class are learning? However, we try to emphasis to everyone that Thrive is just like any other learning intervention. If children struggle with reading, we give them extra support, and it's the same with social and emotional learning, if they are struggling, they get extra support.
Everyone gets class Thrive activities (although they might not realise it); most art or sport activities are taught within the Thrive Approach. But if your child needs regular out of class Thrive time, one-to-one or in a small group, you will be consulted and asked for your input into their assessment and Action Plan.
We are working to become a Thrive school
At Tweedmouth Prior Park First School we don't consider Thrive to be an intervention for just a few children, we consider it to be a whole-school approach. We all believe that all behaviour is communication, that that communication needs to be understood and supported - not "dealt" with. Thrive feeds into everything we do; celebration assemblies, getting to know everyone and their families, sharing all achievements not just academic ones, celebrating our diversity and our collective spirit.
If you want to know more about Thrive, visit the Thrive Approach website on the link below or speak to
Mrs Emma Hargreaves, our Licensed Thrive Practitioner.
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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