The power of nurturing play in school

I am just coming to the end of a piece of work i have been doing in schools with LAC (looked after children) children involving 1-1 weekly nurturing play sessions for 40 minutes for 10 weeks. This has been an enjoyable, challenging and fascinating piece of work and has demonstrated how even very short interventions can have a big impact. The sessions were child led offering a choice of several different play materials, the same ones being available set out in the same place each week to provide some sense of security in stability in their otherwise often very chaotic worlds. One child moved placement in the middle of the sessions but thankfully stayed at the same school so was able to continue with me and vent some of his anger, frustration and sadness at the situation which was as always with LAC children, completely out of his control. I was also able to work with school staff and his new foster carer to support them and therefore assist them to help him.

I used reflective language with the children which provides such positive messages about acceptance, understanding and enables them to feel seen,heard and valued. This experience is crucial for children who for whatever reason have not had this early relational experience from their caregivers.

One of the things that has been most noticeable about this work has been the impact on the children’s learning, and the impact of the brain being healed through nurture and positive relational experiences, this has been evident in all of the children and has left me thinking about how i can create a programme for other schools to implement something similar for LAC children and those who have experienced trauma…….i will give it lots of thought over my Easter break from school and move it to the top of my to do list!

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