Nurture Approach

Nurture approach to learning

What is Nurture?

Nurture is an approach to learning where we focus on emotional needs and development as well as the academic learning of all pupils. Nurturing approaches:

  • are based on an understanding of how children learn and develop and what they need to help them thrive
  • aim to ensure that the learning environment is one where children feel safe and welcomed, and experience positive relationships
  • encourage adults to better understand and respond to children and young people’s feelings and behaviours
  • help children and young people to feel secure, safe and ready to learn.

Nurture emphasises the importance of structure, routine, clear boundaries and high expectations. It is not a soft option, but is an approach which places the quality of relationships at the centre.

Why Nurture in the Scottish Borders?

There is an increase in children and young people experiencing distress and anxiety. Research tells us that nurturing approaches can successfully help to:

  • support emotional wellbeing
  • support the development of good social and emotional skills
  • have a positive impact on learning.

We also know that children manage relationships better where adults listen to them, understand them and respond to their needs.

The Scottish Government promotes nurture as a key approach to supporting behaviour, emotional wellbeing, attainment and achievement in Scottish schools. Many local authorities have successfully implemented nurturing approaches and are reporting positive results.

What does Nurture look like our learning communities?

  • A whole school approach – all our educational settings are implementing nurturing approaches. The core values in each school and setting will ensure that there is an increasing emphasis on positive relationships as well as learning. This involves everyone.
  • Targeted approach – small nurture groups and nurture classes are being developed in some schools. These groups include children who need additional support to develop their social and emotional skills.

What can you expect to see in learning environments?

  • Children, young people, staff, parents/carers and partners being welcomed and supported.
  • Health and wellbeing, and the development of social and emotional understanding, being a key focus and seen as an important part of raising attainment.
  • A balance between high expectations and structure with warmth and support.
  • Everyone working to build positive and respectful relationships.
  • Staff working to understand behaviours by looking at the individual child, family, community and the learning environment.
  • Staff recognising the impact of early experiences on later development and creating some of these missed learning opportunities to support children and young people.
  • Children and young people being supported to understand their emotions and behaviours.

Nurturing approaches are based on six principles

  1. Children and young people’s learning is understood developmentally.
  2. The learning environment offers a safe base.
  3. The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing.
  4. Language is a vital means of communication.
  5. All behaviour is communication.
  6. The importance of transitions in children lives.

Where can I find out more?

For more information, contact your child’s school. You can also visit the Nurture UK website.