Scoil Mhuire established its Nurture Room in September 2017. The Nurture Room is a short-term focused intervention to address issues that hinder learning for some pupils. Just as Scoil Mhuire provides additional literacy and numeracy support for pupils who need it, the Nurture Room provides additional social and emotional support. Sometimes pupils may experience challenges in their lives that prevent them from being able to focus fully on their learning in class. This may be due to a family bereavement, a significant change in their lives, or a demanding family circumstance.
The Nurture Room is set up to reflect the family home with a kitchen, sitting room, work stations, and a play area where the pupils are free to explore play at their own level. In the Nurture Room, the pupils take part in group activities, they learn to listen and share, and they practise life skills. Pupils attend the Nurture Room for varying lengths of time during the school day, depending on their individual needs. Some pupils may attend individually while others attend as part of a small group. The Nurture Room is staffed by one teacher and one SNA, both of whom have completed extensive Nurture professional development. Pupils are assessed using the Boxall Profile and appropriate targets are devised for each pupil.
A lot of the teaching in the Nurture Room is done through modelling positive interactions and appropriate responses to situations through the relationship between the Nurture Room teacher and SNA. The Nurture Room offers our pupils the opportunity to experience early nurture experiences, giving them the skills to do well at school, to make friends and to deal more confidently and calmly with the demands of school life. Pupils access support in the Nurture Room for between one and four school terms.
Having established our Nurture Room in September 2017, we quickly saw the positive impact on pupils’ learning of engaging in overt nurturing practices across the school. Over the past few years, senior members of the Scoil Mhuire staff team have been engaging in professional development with Nurture International as part of the Whole School Nurture Approach for Learning (WSNAL) Award.
As a school community we actively work, on a daily basis, to embed the Six Principles of Nurture in both the policies and practices of our school. These principles are clearly in evidence in how our school is organised and how it provides for its pupils. They are also to be seen in the actions and interactions that form the daily routines and experiences of school life.
Scoil Mhuire is confident of achieving the WSNAL Award over the coming months. As a school community, we were very proud to receive the Carol Speed Award in recognition of Outstanding Nurture Practice from Nurture International in June 2021.
One of our key Nurture messages in Scoil Mhuire is that we all learn in our own ways and in our own time. In this video clip, you might like to hear some of the views of our pupils on this key Nurture message: link to video needs to be added here.
If you would like to know a little more about our nurture work, you might like to read the following Irish Times article: