Valuing children’s need for belonging and attachment is central to our approach to inclusion and mental health. When securing attachments and fostering a sense of belonging, there is no time in a child’s life more important than the early years. Young children need to have their attachments recognised, respected, embraced and grown. We are dedicated to building sensitive and secure relationships with all children, thus enabling them to make the transition from home to school with growing confidence. We take an individual approach to every child and support their attachments and transitions between home and school with sensitivity and love.
Mental Health and Wellbeing for families
The mental health and wellbeing of children, families, staff and governors is the corner stone to our practice and provides the framework within which the school’s values, ethos and aims are built. We have a Mental Health First Aider in school who is dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of all adults and children. Time is dedicated within the school timetable, for the Mental Health First Aider to be available to parents and staff who may need additional emotional support.
All staff are passionate about emotional well-being and believe that caring, respectful and trusting relationships are at the heart of what our school offers. We share close relationships with multiagency professionals, ensuring that we can always find someone to offer the right support if someone is in need.
Mentally Healthy Approaches to learning
We recognise mental health and wellbeing as being the foundation for all learning. Children are taught to love and respect themselves and each other. Our inclusive approach to all children ensures that the uniqueness of every child is celebrated and strengths are acknowledged and grown.
Positive mental health underpins our teaching and learning approach in school. We use an approach called MetaMe, which is a built around nurturing the development of a child’s sense of self, within an understanding of, and connection to, social relationships and responsibilities. Using strategies which support children to understand their own thinking (metacognition), children are empowered to understand their own unique potential and the immense value each and every child offers to their community and the world as a whole.
Inclusion and behaviour
Inclusion in our school is built on an understanding of equity – every child has the right to love, respect and dignity and an understanding of their individual life experience. Instead of treating all children the same, we treat all children as unique. We accept and embrace everyone for their own uniqueness, adapting our approach to meet individual needs. We believe that a child’s behaviour is a form of communication and that understanding behaviour and the reasons behind it, is a highly productive way of encouraging prosocial behaviour and nurturing high self-esteem and resilience in all children.
We do not give stickers to reward behaviour in school. Mental health and well-being is supported by nurturing a child’s sense of personal pride and attachment to those they love and respect. Loving relationships is the key to every child’s ability to regulate their emotions and feel empathy for others. External rewards, like stickers, can provide very short term recognition for positive behaviour. However, celebratory words, dedicated time to praise, a smile and a hug, along with shared joy, is a long lasting and highly effective motivator for compassionate behaviour and a love for learning.
We focus on enabling children to feel their own sense of pride in their achievements and nurture peer support and kindness. Children can become reliant on stickers to judge their own performance and if they are not given regularly, their motivation and well-being can suffer. Instead of working hard to learn new things or behave with compassion and kindness to take care of friends, children can become motivated solely to achieve a sticker. This does not nurture positive social awareness or personal resilience. Our school aims to nurture emotionally secure, vibrant and self-confident learners, who recognise their own uniqueness and value what others have to offer.
Inclusion Quality Mark
At the heart of every child is a unique genius and personality. What we should be doing is allowing the spark of that genius to catch fire, to burn brightly and shine
British children’s author