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& the Rainbow Room

The School's six principles sum up our practice and theory. They underpin the context, organisation and curriculum.

  1. ​​​​​Children's learning is understood developmentally​

  2. The classroom offers a safe base

  3. the importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing

  4. Language as a vital means of communication

  5. All behaviour is communication

  6. The importance of transition in children's lives


The curriculum in nurture groups and nurturing classes takes account of these principles in all aspects of assessment, planning and record keeping. Furthermore, the principles are evident in whole school policies so informing practice at school, class and individual levels, and in the variety of settings children might find themselves in - the dining hall, the school office, the playground as well as the classroom.


1. Children's learning is understood developmentally


The teacher ensures that:

  • there are opportunities for Personal, Social and Emotional Development beginning ate the earliest levels of play, communication, language and literacy in close proximity to the adults.

  • there is support for fine and gross motor development and coordination

  • there are basic experiences which are practitioner selected and directed

  • the development aspects of every situation are emphasised

  • children's play enables development through clear stages: sensory, experimentation, repetition, investigation and exploration

  • co-operative play is encouraged, but not expected and it is introduced in a planned and systematic way.

  • National requirements and school policy are met at the appropriate level for each child within the overall nurture context

2. The classroom offers a safe base


The teacher ensures that:

  • the organisation and management of the classroom are integral to the curriculum and are understood as critical to the context for learning and teaching

  • an explicit Nurture Curriculum is provided for those children who have very early developmental needs

  • in working closely with the class TA a trusted relationship is established which offers reassurance, constancy, interest and commitment. Together they model constructive relationships and interaction

  • a domestic setting with food, comfort and consistent care and support is provided to facilitate emotional and physical attachment

  • the day is structured so that it is predictable, establishes routines and emphasises order and repetition

  • clear boundaries - both physical and emotional are set and maintained

  • practitioners engage with the children in everyday routines - tidying up, sorting, putting away - with helpful, uncritical adult reminders

  • everyone recognises and respects the child's expression of need for play and work space


3. The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing


The teacher ensures that:

  • practitioners value children as individuals and work to establish a close relationship with each child as the first priority

  • children are called by their first names, are noticed and everyone shows pleasure in the children's achievements

  • small achievements are praised in a diversity of ways, including non-verbal such as smiling and nodding, and remembers that for children the best reward is the sense of genuine achievement

  • practitioners establish and maintain eye contact; use facial expression and vary their tone of voice, deliberately exaggerating if necessary

  • practitioners engage in and enjoy reciprocal, shared activities such as play, having meals, sharing books and reading aloud together

  • practitioners allow time for engaging in remembering and talking about events and feelings

  • music is used to establish relationships through expecting practitioners to sing with children and play finger and body games and song

  • practitioners listen to, anticipate and are responsive to children's needs

4. Language as a vital means of communication

The teacher ensures that:

  • the crucial importance of early communication and language is understood

  • language is assessed and developed in all aspects of the curriculum at the appropriate level for the child

  • there is time and opportunity for children to express and explore the stages of language development

  • provision is mad, where necessary, for additional support for children with speech and language delay or difficulties

  • practitioners maintain a verbal commentary to activities while working and playing with the children so that they make connections between the action and the language

  • practitioners use every opportunity for extended conversations, recalling and planning for tomorrow

  • opportunities are provided for imaginative play which is encouraged; practitioners model by playing 'with' for mutual enjoyment and shared learning

  • practitioners share feelings and satisfaction, and put feelings into words both with children and other adults in the classroom.


5. All behaviour is communication


The teacher ensures that:

  • practitioners relate intuitively to the child in a developmentally appropriate way: cradling, holding, rocking; sensory exploration

  • practitioners understand the importance and significance of non-verbal communication and respond appropriately

  • practitioners understand that physical contact may be communication

  • a variety of strategies is developed such as distraction and humour (but not sarcasm) in order to respond to behaviour

  • practitioners respond to undesirable behaviour firmly but not punitively, they are not discouraged or provoked

  • children will sense as their behaviour is understood rather than judged, difficult situations may be diffused

  • practitioners observe and record objectively without making judgements but with growing understanding of developmental levels

  • the Boxall profile is used regularly fro assessment and that practitioners base Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) on the needs identified in the developmental Strands as well as National Curriculum levels


6. The importance of transition in children's lives

The teacher ensures that:

  • ​a simple and manageable routine is provided which is slow moving and has a clear time structure so establishing a secure base

  • school transitions between lessons and sessions are given time and prepared for, so supporting and affirming

  • children are prepared for changes is routine, such as teacher absence and visitors, so establishing clear procedures known to the children beforehand

  • simple changes are introduced to the routine and environment. These ate prepared for in detail, for example off site visits in the local area to accustom children to change

  • practitioners allow opportunity for children to talk about and comment on 'out of school transitions', they involve parents wherever and as much as possible

  • the school community understands that children may be unable to sustain achievements and may need support during times of stress

  • practitioners make use of transitional objects to help a child separate

  • in the event of bereavement a nurture child is supported and practitioners work alongside the school's protocol for bereavement and family trauma

  • reintegration is planned for an managed to ensure optimum success.

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Rainbow Room
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