By Rebecca Openshaw, Teacher at Royston St John the Baptist CE Primary School, in Barnsley
My role is Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) leader within my own school and across a MAT. I have been a Thrive Licensed Practitioner® for seven years and a Thrive Licensed Trainer® for five. While working with children in foundation stage, I have been able to use the Thrive Approach® as an essential part of my day-to-day life with four and five-year-olds. The flexibility of the EYFS allows all staff in the setting to work alongside the children supporting their emotional development throughout daily play. This has been all the more relevant and necessary during the past year with Covid-19 and the changes in daily life and the dysregulation this brings for both children and families. Having the underpinning knowledge of Thrive® and the neuroscience around brain development allowed us to remain supportive of our children’s needs, our families and ourselves as staff.
The early years in school nurseries and reception classes provide us with a significant opportunity to respond to children within the right-time of their learning. Catching children in these key times for brain development helps us to support their emotional development and build their confidence, curiosity and resilience alongside supportive adults.
As a school that is an early adopter of the new EYFS curriculum, this is even more important. In the EYFS early adopter handbook three out of the four statements refer to:
- every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
- children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
- children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs
The new personal, social and emotional development (PSED) statements that make the Early Learning Goals are now self-regulation, managing self and building relationships. These are directly supported using the Thrive Approach. The focus for children to be able to feel sensations within their bodies are in both the PSED statements and the expressive arts and design (EAD) strand, as is the emphasis on supporting children with their emotional understanding and being able to regulate their emotions.
The strategies, activities and ideas that support this key time of learning within Thrive training give early years Thrive Licensed Practitioners a secure understanding of how we can support our foundation stage children in this crucial development. Having used Thrive for many years, it’s fantastic to see the Approach mould to changes in the curriculum and continue to make a huge impact on the children I work with.