Love my job!

Cornwall 13 074Love my job!

I love my job and all the fun and stress that comes with it, but last week I was able to take a well-earned break from the hustle and bustle of school life, I had earned TOIL, or time off in lieu, so I took 4 days, that enabled my husband and I to escape to Cornwall for a whole week on our own with no children in tow, not that ours are small anymore, the youngest will be 20 in a few weeks time. We had a glorious week, and managed to walk around the coastline for miles in both directions from Penzance, stopping when we wanted to and eating when hungry, the only stipulation I made was that we had to take a class teddy away with us, to prove to the children where we had been,also to be able to get the children to do some reading a writing when I made the pictures into a book, my husband was very obliging (he has done it before,) well the best one was when we went to Praa Sands, the lifeboat was on the beach all ready and waiting in case of a call out, Ian strode across the sand en route to the lifeguards just to ask if we could take some Pictures of Milkyway and Soggy on the lifeboat, now that’s what you call love and dedication, I am sure the lifeguards were not thinking that, but they agreed and one of the pictures is above.
We both had a brilliant week and feel refreshed, I have even come home with a healthy glow.


Training to Thrive

I have found out that I will be attending a Thrive course through my work, to say I am pleased is an understatement, it underpins all the work that I do with the little people I have daily contact with, Thrive is a programme designed by a group of educationalists and psychologists, that aims to replace the missing emotional markers from a childs development from the age of zero to eighteen, so that they are able to learn, love and play without all of the stress that they normally have, below I have copied some of the information from the web site so that you may get a clearer idea of what it involves.

The six building blocks or developmental strands

Thrive™ uses a developmental framework to clarify the connections between emotional and social development, behaviour and learning. Child development can be depicted as six building blocks of experience, each with accompanying tasks and opportunities. These translate into six fundamental aspects of learning for emotional and social development:

Learning to be

Learning to do

Learning to think

Learning to be powerful and to have an identity (Power and Identity)

Learning to be skilful and have structure (Skills and Structure)

Learning to be separate and secure in your sexual identity (Separation and Sexuality)

These can be thought of as six areas of competence. Each area of competence has related tasks and desirable experiences to make the most of learning. The diagram above makes ‘learning to be’ or ‘being’ the foundation on which other experiences are built; this is the model that is used throughout the programme.

Sequential emotional development
As the child grows the developmental strands come ‘on-line’ sequentially – however, once they are in place, they remain available and open to growth throughout life. This means that our developmental tasks can be addressed at any point in our lives; we are truly life-long learners when it comes to brain and emotional and social development.

Recycling the tasks of emotional learning
The Thrive approach talks of this as ‘recycling’; we recycle our developmental needs as they arise and until they are met. Our changing circumstances throughout our lives also present us both with challenges to be addressed and opportunities to learn or relearn from our experiences. Until we are supported to understand and act in ways that are different from our familiar, predictable responses, we are likely to keep meeting similar challenges with the behaviours we have used before – even if they were not successful last time.

Developmental strands and learning needs
Each building block is linked to three learning needs. You can recognise the most urgent learning need by observing the young person’s behaviour. Thrive™ then recommends specific one-to-one responses and various teaching strategies, and explores the implications for the school as a whole.


I remember attending a course once in the dim and distant past, where the speaker was talking about moods, he said, and I quote, “when working with vulnerable/volatile children you need to take into consideration three moods, your mood, the mood of the child you are working with, and the mood of others around you, only now can I really see what he is talking about, on a Thursday I work with two other adults nurturing 2 children with emotional problems, one of the adults is wary of the children, and is unable to deal with some of the behaviours they display, and yes I do mean display, they do it to show us what they are capable of! Well this week we were being drawn in two different directions, all because one adult is edgy and wary of the children, they pick up on this nervousness, then both lose it at the same time, when there are 2 of them and three of us you would think it was easy, but no, not when they go in different directions and aim their frustration/anger at other children, you need to restrain them but cannot do it unless there is another adult who is willing to help, it’s a bit like being a lion tamer, and they should come with signs that say “beware these children can be dangerous!”, well all I can say is that we did get to the end of the day, but not all in the same place, and I was shattered. Just to show the difference, on Friday we had three children, 2 from the day before and one other who has multiple disabilities, with 3 adults, 2 from the day before and one other, all three of us are calm and relaxed around these boys in fact you could say we are almost horizontal, the afternoon was lovely, we had minor problems but containable ones, plus the bonus was that one of the children came and asked for a hug, which for him is a breakthrough.

Suarez what are you teaching kids?

Professional people in high-profile jobs should be held more responsible for their actions, not just given a 10 match ban like Suarez, he should have had some financial penalty that was given to a kids football team or teams, not just a small ban, his actions have had an impact on one of the young boys I work with who thinks it’s acceptable to go around biting others when having a disagreement.

Yesterday he twice bit his one to one helper, once on the shoulder and the second on his arm, it was not just a nip, it left teeth marks for a long while after, then today he bit one of his playmates thinking it was funny, if he was 3 it would be understandable, but he is six and has never done it before, he is footie mad and watches all the matches, so would have seen what Suarez did. Ok rant over.

Milky way the puppet

Dylan scrapbook 047

Some of you will have read previous posts about the work I do, for those who haven’t I will give you a quick tour, I work in a nurture unit within a key stage 1 school, repairing the damage done by lack of, or very little sensible parenting.

Well today was one of the days that I knew had to happen but I was dreading it, three of the boys I work with are year 2s and have to move to the junior site a short walk away, to prepare one of the boys for todays visit, I took him to a quiet area to explain to him what would be happening during the day, when all hell let loose, over went the chair, up went the pot of felt tips like a rainbow flying through the air, and out into the playground he ran, anything in his way went flying, benches turned over, sticks thrown, balls kicked, he even tried to lift one of the fixed planters so that he could throw it in his anger, he came and sat on a step near to me, what did I have that could calm him like no other thing could? A puppet of a cow, that he has become attached to named Milky way, all I did was hold it up to the window and in he came, immediately took the puppet from me started to cuddle it, and coo just like a baby, yes I had won him over, or more to the point the puppet had.

We did go to the junior site later, where I had to give him a piggy back to get there, so that he had close comfort when he was feeling worried and vulnerable, each time he came upon a new situation, he clambered into my arms seeking reassurance, I know that some were looking at him thinking surely that child should have grown out of that by now, but for him and me he is still a 3 year old boy in a seven year olds body, all because his mother was an alcoholic who ignored him when he cried and paid him no attention at all.

I have three children of my own, but I have many children that I have nurtured in my time who look upon me as their mum, the eldest being 35 and the youngest 4, I feel proud to be so privileged.

Wonderful life or prison?

I have watched a programe tonight that makes me seriously concerned for the children I work with, it was all about prisoners and the British prison system, seeing 5 prison officers holding down a man who had lost it with another inmate, that had thrown his plate at him. Today I have had to sit between two 7 year olds who were swearing and using threatening behaviour, normally we have to keep the scissors tied together, and hidden underneath the painting aprons when they are not in use, so when they are freely available on the table and an arguement starts, the first instinct is to immediately remove them, and today was one of those days! It took two of us to restain one child, who was then escorted outside, while I was outside with him My cat turned up, and the said child’s whole persona changed, he became a calm compliant eager little boy again, rather than the monster of minutes before, don’t get me wrong I love my job and the boys I work with, but I’m seriously concerned about what is ahead of them and where their futures lay. The group of us that work with these boys are working really hard to get them to intergrate with their peers without any difficulties, by providing them with the life experiences they have missed out on and showing them love, care and affection.

From the comfort of my arm-chair

garden room 006I have a passion for reading, it has been, and always will be my means of escapism, from the age of 6 I remember reading proper books, in fact I remember very clearly doing a class read of William Tell and having to stand up to read, I was a shy child but took pride in my reading ability. Reading has taken me to far off continents, I have travelled by ship, aeroplane and even in a hot air balloon, all whilst sitting in the comfort of my arm-chair. The need for children to read is as great today as it was when I was a child, so if I can spark a child’s imagination with a story then that is what I will do. A couple of weeks ago the children I work with asked for their home time story to be a Horrid Henry book, one we had read a couple of times before, so I got comfortable on the sofa with 2 children on my lap and one laid on the bean bags beside me, I opened the book and was about to start reading when all of a sudden a little voice started to read it instead, I sat back and was both thrilled and amazed, he continued with some help on the more difficult words until he got about half way through then asked if I would continue, which I did, when I had finished I gave him lots of praise and told him how proud I was of him, you may think what is she making such a fuss for? Well he is 7 years of age and up until now he hasn’t seen the need to learn to read, yes he could but would lose patience very quickly, also his dad is unable to read and kept telling him he didn’t need to, “look where I have got,” was his continual reply, so yes I was very proud that he had taken on board me continually saying to him about the places I have been all from the comfort of my arm-chair!

If you give a child positive life experiences then life will be positive, give them negative life experiences and life will be negative.
Me today.