So sorry for not posting anything on here for a while but have had a difficult few weeks, at the end of July we broke up from school for the summer holidays,the weather was beautiful, I had lots of days out and catching up with friends to look forward to. Two days later the devastating news came, my mum was diagnosed as having terminal cancer, myeloma of the pericardium to be exact, to say that it was a blow was an understatement, after undergoing 15 months of hell, with an abdominal wound the size of my fist after bowel surgery went wrong, we were looking towards the exciting future, a grandchild for me and my husband, and great-grandchild for my parents. We are still anticipating that mum will be here to see the new arrival, but it is all tinged with sadness, sadness because the outlook is that she will not get to see the baby grow into a little person with character, I hope that he/she had some of the get up and go that mum has,the resilience and strength that has seen her overcome so many setbacks during her life. Mum was born in 1943 to an unmarried teenage mum, who didn’t have the strength to stand up and be counted as an individual, so mum was raised by her Grandparents, and lived with her aunts and uncle, the eldest of which was 17 and the youngest 6 months old, my mum was called names and basically not treated very nice but became a wonderful person who is my loving and caring mum.
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!
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.
Looking around my garden I suddenly noticed these growing in a shady corner, they are so tiny that I almost overlooked them, it shows how damp it is and has been in Devon recently, it’s raining again now and has been cold today, April 21st, yesterday it was beautiful sunshine, lovely and warm, what has happened to our seasons?
My husband and I went to Dartmoor yesterday, one of our favourite place to just walk and brush out the cobwebs, I was immediately struck by the lack of leaves in the trees, apart from the rhodedendrons and azaleas, the rest of the trees were completely bare, I know that none of us want to enter into the outside when it is so cold, but it has never struck me that trees would or could do the same, just because it has been so cold. The picture above is of one of the main feeds into Burrator Reservoir a most beautiful place to take a walk, especially as you can walk all the way around it.
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!