At Carbeile Junior School the social and emotional development of our children is a key priority and we are proud to be a THRIVE School.
We believe that every child needs to feel that they belong, that they matter and that they are valued for their unique qualities. Like all of us at some point in our lives, children face challenges that knock them off course. What is then needed is understanding and support to get them back on track. At Carbeile Junior School we work hard to support the children through these difficult times, using art, music and play based activities.
Assessments are used to provide personalised programmes for classes, groups and individuals.
Every child is supported in their social and emotional development which is embedded in all that we do.
Thrive and TIS (Trauma Informed Schools)
As you may be aware, the number of children experiencing difficulties with their mental health is on the rise across the UK (and has been since the Covid-19 lockdowns). As with any school, we do have children who may on occasion experience times of dysregulation (meltdown!) whilst they are here.
Carbeile has been a ‘Thrive School’ for a number of years. We have two trained Thrive Practitioners in school, a Mental Health Lead and an NHS Mental Health Practitioner that works alongside us to support our families. We are also part of the East Cornwall Mental Heath Hub.
Research has shown that when children are operating with high stress or anxiety levels, they have no conscious control over their reactions – so it is impossible for them to self-regulate or calm themselves down. These are the steps that we follow as a Thrive School to support children when they are distressed:
Take the child to a quiet space with a trusted adult who can co-regulate them (help them to calm down). Make sure all the children in the class are ok and learning has not been disrupted.
Have a non-judgemental conversation that validates the children’s emotions underneath the behaviour they have shown. For example ‘You look very cross. Your face is very red and sweaty, maybe you should take your jumper off?’ or ‘Yes I know it can be annoying when people push in the line.’ It is very important to make a connection with the child before you attempt to address the behaviour (connection then correction).
This is often done using breathing exercises (such a snake breathing, grounding, figure of 8), dim lighting, soft blankets etc. Often play-based activities are used to help decrease the high levels of stress hormones. This does not reward poor behaviour, it is a necessary developmental experience to enable the child to reflect on their behaviour (recommended by Julie Harmieson, Direct of Education and National Strategy at TIS).
Once a child is calm, the trusted adult will begin to ‘unpick’ what has happened and will support the child in taking responsibility for their behaviour.
It is important for all adults to allow time to re-connect with the child and to help them re-join their class.
Thrive’s approach to understanding and working with children and young people’s social and emotional development has evolved in accordance with current findings in neuroscience. We are committed to using this approach as a school and go to great lengths to ensure that all children are supported in developing emotional resilience and positive mental health. We also strive to have a good balance between using a relational approach to behaviour with learning – ensuring minimal learning time is lost and all our children make good progress.
At Carbeile Junior School all staff are trained to provide social and emotional support for pupils. We are also very fortunate to have a dedicated Pastoral Team. Holly Bridges, our SENCO, leads the Pastoral Team. Sharon Hughes is our Thrive Lead, Pam Head our Thrive support and Sam Church is our Autism Champion. All members of the team are committed to providing support for pupils with social and emotional needs.
The Thrive Practitioners work in the ‘Thrive Room’ and ‘The Willow Room’, which have both been specially designed to create a safe, calm and relaxing environment. We also work outside as much as we can, utilizing the wild spaces around our school.