Family Nurture sessions at Northdown Primary School

Family nurture sessions at Northdown Primary

Over the last term, it’s not only the children of Northdown Primary School who have been going to school, but their parents.

Over six weeks, parents and carers have had the opportunity to attend Family Nurture sessions led by Sam Bootes (Specialist Teacher) and Liz Goodwin (Wellbeing and Engagement Practitioner) from Thanet Inclusion Support Service (TISS, based next to Laleham Gap School) and Northdown’s own Thrive Practitioners, Summer and Kay.

Each session has focused on the science behind human behaviour, linking our thoughts and emotions to brain development and how our behaviour links to our life experiences. The course has given them the knowledge and understanding to help support their children with social and emotional skills, understanding that behaviour is a form of communication, the importance of wellbeing and how the brain develops.

Northdown Primary’s specialist link teacher Sam Bootes explained the concept behind the groups: “Family nurture is about building relationships, sharing strategies and giving families a safe space. We back everything up with the science of brain development from birth to 25. We celebrate how families are diverse and children are individual.”

The course culminated in a family play session where parents and children took part in sensory activities such as playing with kinetic sand.

Dave, whose children attend the school in Year 1 and 3, said: “The whole thing has been very informative and enjoyable. There are a lot of things that have made sense and helped us understand ourselves and our children.”

Alongside the science and theory, parents were able to discuss how these related to their personal circumstances.

“It has made me feel more hopeful and taken a few barriers away between me and my children. Understanding the science behind their thought processes has been really useful,” agreed Bella. mum to a Year 4 pupil.

After a successful implementation supported by the specialists from TISS, the school will now be running more sessions themselves, opening up support to more families, which was one of the key priorities.

Summer, who trained last year as a Thrive Practitioner, said: “We are so proud of our parents and the confidence that has come from attending the course. It has helped our parents to feel included as part of a community and build links between school and home.

“As the Thrive team here at Northdown Primary, we are looking forward to continuing on our whole school journey, focusing on the children’s emotional wellbeing and happiness. A huge part of that journey is having the parents’ support and involvement so we have a collaborative approach.

“We are looking forward to providing this course again in the new school year.”

For more information on the Thrive programme, see