With wellbeing now at the heart of the Welsh curriculum, Thrive® is set to deliver its first Awareness Session in Welsh next month.
As well as developing more resources in Welsh, Thrive has also recruited a Welsh speaking trainer, Laurie Llewellyn, who will deliver an online Childhood Awareness Session on July 2. This one-hour webinar is designed for senior leaders to learn more about the Thrive Approach® and how it can be used to support children and young people in different settings.
The Welsh curriculum recognises that good physical, mental and emotional health underpins successful learning, with an Estyn report last year saying schools need to take a joined up approach to supporting wellbeing, specifically by strengthening relationships between pupils and teachers.
One school which is using Thrive to support its pupils is Ysgol Gymraeg Cwm Gwyddon, in Abercarn, Caerphilly. The Welsh-medium primary school is in a semi-rural area with 253 pupils. It started using Thrive in 2019 with Additional Learning Needs Co-Ordinator Kirsty Knight leading on implementing the Approach in the school and all staff taking part in a one-day training session to explain the principles of the Approach.
All classes are screened using the Thrive-Online profiling tool with pupils needing one-to-one support identified and action plans put in place as a result.
Prior to implementing the Approach, the school did have several different wellbeing interventions in place but it has found that Thrive has channelled their efforts into a more structured approach. Although it is relatively early days, the Approach has already had an impact.
“We are finding it really powerful,” said Mrs Knight. “It is showing us that children are making progress. Attitudes are changing in class – there is a motivation for learning and a willingness to co-operate, with children more able to speak about their emotions. We have also found that attendance has improved.”
As with the rest of the school day, Thrive sessions are delivered in Welsh and Mrs Knight has found it straightforward to converse about the underpinning neuroscience of Thrive, and everything else relating to the Approach, in the language.
“Thrive is both practical and verbal so there hasn’t been an issue with the language. I converse in Welsh during sessions, and the children answer in whichever language they feel most at ease with. To me, language is not my main concern, particularly if a child is dysregulating. What’s important to me is that a child is able to express themselves,” she said.
An additional bonus of Thrive has been that the monitoring aspect of Thrive-Online has helped the school to demonstrate its progress in wellbeing outcomes during Estyn inspections.
“Thrive has helped us to evidence what we were doing and the impact it is having. I was able to quantify it all to the inspector because Thrive-Online measures and clearly shows the progress an individual has made,” added Mrs Knight.
“We pride ourselves on our approach to wellbeing. It’s mentioned in every class day-to-day and Thrive has supported that commitment and pushed it to another level. Thrive has given it more of a direction and more of a focus. Everyone is working on the same page and people are using similar strategies so we are achieving more.”
Laurie Llewellyn is a teacher at Ysgol Pen-Y-Bryn, a special school in Swansea. She is also a Thrive Licensed Practitioner and a Welsh-speaking Thrive trainer, who is working with a Wales-based team to bring the Approach to more schools.
“Thrive is something that you hear schools taking about more and more often now because of the Estyn framework. There is a real focus on wellbeing and mental health and Thrive is something that really helps schools to show what they are doing in this area,” she said.
“Language isn’t a barrier to receiving Thrive training or to using Thrive in a school. It’s something that can really help make a big difference in pupils’ lives.”
To find out more about the Childhood Awareness Session in Welsh log onto https://www.thriveapproach.com/courses/awareness/241/6595/