As proud members of the Griffin Schools Trust, Race Leys Junior School thrives on providing the very best wellbeing, nurturing and pastoral support for its children, families and staff. As a values-based school, Race Leys prioritises empowering all that enter, to leave as well rounded and respected individuals.

What is the Thrive Approach?

The Thrive approach is based upon the work of Jean Illsely Clarke and Connie Dawson encompassing child development theory, attachment knowledge and established research in neuroscience.  The developmental model separates childhood development into six key blocks which each building and growing from the previous. As educational professionals, we know that not all children within a classroom develop academically at the same speed or in the same way, this is also true for children’s emotional and social wellbeing development.

As we grow and develop from infancy we encounter many different experiences which can alter our emotional growth. Instances such as separation, house moves or death of a loved one, create gaps in our emotional building blocks called developmental interruptions. Everyone faces these types of interruptions however the impact on our lives varies. Children who have secure foundations are able to manage these changes, with support, and continue to successfully develop however for some children this is not the case. In circumstances where a child has significant developmental interruptions, especially at being, doing and thinking strands, children struggle to regulate or manage their emotions due to a poorly developed regulation system. This can impact on all areas of their lives, socially, emotionally and most commonly seen in schools, academically. We recognise that life changed for everyone during and after COVID resulting in more children who struggled to manage their emotions and needed additional support. This was a large factor in our decision to invest heavily in Thrive for our school.

Implementing Thrive at Race Leys Junior School

Race Leys Junior School is proud to have embraced Thrive to support children’s social and emotional wellbeing. Our intention is to develop children emotionally so they are able to recognise and manage their emotions as well to develop skills that enable them to participate fully in school and social activities. Our Thrive approach provides children with a safe and calm environment in which to regulate their emotions. Specialist therapeutic work, also allows children to take pride in their achievements and strengthen their self-esteem. Thrive is a dynamic and developmental play-based approach which supports all children across the school.

The implementation of Thrive at Race Leys is carried out in three ways to ensure that teaching is embedded effectively. All of the children at Race Leys Junior School receive right time Thrive approach work in class. Teachers work alongside the licensed practitioner to profile their class resulting in a personalised action plan for them to work on.  Our dedicated teachers have received additional training to enable them to confidently deliver this emotional wellbeing Thrive session. The action plans, and activities that derive from these, are play based and emphasise the social skills set behind the developmental strand.  Currently working within the skills and structure strand, our year 4, 5 and 6 children are working on activities such as learning a new skill taught by an expert or developing their morals and values by working together creating their own island and its rules. Likewise, year 3, who are currently working at the end range of Power and Identity, are using role play and film clips to explore sensations and feelings in different situation.  Working on these right time developmental strands allow children to safely explore the boundaries and grow their social and emotionally skill set.

The Role of the Thrive Practitioner

For some children, identified through profiling, additional reparative work is required. These small groups and 121 sessions are completed by the licensed Thrive practitioner. A more bespoke profile is created focusing on the main areas of developmental interruption that these children need additional support with. Weekly sessions support children in managing their emotions and filling the developmental interruptions which are stopping their growth thus enabling them to flourish in everyday life and beyond.

Thrive is embedded not only into the teaching curriculum at Race Leys Junior School but also intrinsically through language used around school with adults using WIN (wonder, imagine and notice) when supporting children to regulate. Monthly Thrive assemblies led by the Thrive practitioner equip young people with the science behind the teaching in manageable, easy to understand chunks. These provide learning steps for children to take away and reflect upon their own actions and behaviours. Our families and the wider community are updated monthly with a Thrive and wellbeing newsletter packed with research, updates on children’s learning and tips to support emotional regulation at home.

Thrive Ambassadors

Our latest development in our Thrive journey is the introduction of Thrive ambassadors. These are shining examples of children who are passionate about helping others to reach their best. Ambassadors will be taking on responsibilities such as preparing and leading Thrive assemblies and being advocates for this wonderful approach in our school. Many have worked through the journey themselves and understand the difficulties others may be facing and how at times, it can be difficult to manage our emotions and the need for adults to support their development.

Our Thrive journey has been a great development area for all involved and has strengthened our school community. Thrive training  and skills building does not just stop at the end of the course, teaching and learning develops through regular network meetings held by the organisation for all members of the Thrive family. These important and informative meetings allow practitioners and the team to share good practice, provide and receive support where needed and also highlights new learning. The learning from these network meetings are shared with staff, via email, to ensure that all have received updated points and can refer to them at later dates if needed.

The Impact of Thrive Across the School

Through focused and creative play-based activities, the impact of Thrive can be seen through the positive feedback on children’s social and emotional wellbeing as well as their finely developed social skills which all create a happier and calmer school environment.

The impact of Thrive can already be measured through the positive developments in children’s social and emotional wellbeing as well as improved social skills and engagement. Our children flourish in a happy and calm school environment, where everyone benefits from our vision of Proud Traditions, Wide Horizons and High Achievement. 

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The number of children in the UK reporting low happiness appears to have increased in recent years according to the Children's Society. In this article, Amy Carnell from Race Leys Junior School discusses how the implementation of Thrive in the school has benefitted children's and teacher's wellbeing.

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