Where has the time gone

This time 24 years ago I was a new mum, and my husband was, I am sure, in a state of shock, you get handed a writhing, crying bundle, that you look at and think how do I know what this thing is going to need 24 hours a day for the next however many years? All I can say is that it couldn’t have been that bad because we did venture to have more, and our daughter is a well balanced, caring individual, who we are proud of!

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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.

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.

A step backwards

Well yesterday was a taster in seeing how far we have come, the session was rather bubbly as one of the boys was due to see his mum afterwards, his tension, excitement or apprehension caused one of the other boys to have a heightened sense of anxiety, which in turn sent them both back to the fight or flight mode, so we spent most of the afternoon on a damage limitation exercise, we got to 15 minutes from the end when all hell broke loose, there were 5 children in the unit and 3 of them started an argument that resulted in me being deliberately slapped by one of the children, managed to extricate three of the children, which meant we were left with 2 adults and two children until another adult arrived to help calm the situation. When the children had all gone home we sat and looked at how far they had come, six months ago what had happened in the afternoon would have been a daily occurrence!

How far we have come

When I started working with these children in November they were unable to keep them in the classroom, in fact they were unable to keep them inside the building, at times they were getting off the site, which was a headache as you can imagine. Now they are in the classroom all the morning, then with me and a couple of others all afternoon, this huge improvement has happened because we mothered them, we took them back to basics, playing silly games whilst hugging them close, looking into their eyes and making them feel special. Don’t get me wrong it’s not all plain sailing, We still have the odd blips where they have enormous tantrums, but that is exactly what they are tantrums!

Nurturing children

A Bit about me and my job.
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Well I said to myself not long ago about setting up my own blog page so that others could share my days, so here is a little about me. I work in a primary school setting, and spend most of my time there assisting three boys with their emotional and social learning, it can be very challenging but also extremely rewarding too, I think the best part of my job is when I see a child stay on an activity, and feel that sense of achievement and pride in what they have done, for these boys that may be few and far between, but that doesn’t matter, what does matter is that they are having those times, when they were not before, with such challenges come behaviour that a lot of others find unaceptable, what they don’t realise is that for these children this is a learned way of reacting to the unknown, can you imagine what it is like to not know what love is, or reassurance? Because that is what the boys don’t know, they haven’t learned or been conditioned to know that if you fall over there will be someone there to help it feel better, they normally lash out and hit the nearest person, because they have not had the cuddle and kind words such as ” Oh dear, never mind lets kiss it better, or let me look to see if I can help,” how sad is that?