Nurture groups offer a short-term, inclusive, focused intervention. Nurture groups are classes of between six and twelve children in early years or primary settings. Each group is run by fully trained members of staff. Children who attend nurture group spend appropriate times within the nurture group according to their need and typically return full time to their own class within two to four terms.
Nurture groups assess learning, social and emotional needs and give the necessary help to remove the barriers to learning. There is great emphasis on language development and communication. Nothing is taken for granted and everything is explained, supported by role modelling, demonstration and the use of gesture as appropriate. The relationship between staff, always nurturing and supportive, provides a role model that children observe and begin to copy. Food is shared at ‘snack time’ with many opportunities for social learning, helping children to attend to the needs of others, with time to listen and be listened to.
As children learn academically and socially they develop confidence, become responsive to others, learn self-respect and take pride in behaving well and in achieving. Nurture groups have been working successfully for more than 40 years in the UK and now in other countries.