How Nurture Groups Can Facilitate Inclusive Practice in Primary and Secondary Schools: A Theory Map for Enriching the University Students' Learning Experience

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Painter, Janet
Broecher, Joachim
Davis, Joyce Hubbard
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Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education , Social Support Groups , Attachment Behavior , Migrants
Nurture groups originated in East London, in the 1960s. The first nurture groups provided education for multicultural migrant children, whose schools and parents were under enormous stress. Today, there are more than 1000 nurture groups in the UK across primary, secondary, and specialized schools. A key figure in the development of the model is Marjorie Boxall (1923-2004). The goals of a nurture group are to restore for the child the experiences of early nurture found in the child´s neighborhood school, to create an inclusive place within mainstreamed classes for children who are vulnerable to social, emotional and behavioral difficulties and to facilitate the successful return of children who have been separated from their mainstream classes due to social, emotional or behavioral difficulties. The nurture group is fully integrated within a supportive school which has a policy for nurture groups for the whole school. What are the principles of a nurture group? Growth is more important, than pathology. Enriching children´s learning is the focus, not to provide therapy. The nurture process is based in attachment, and is mediated within and through a secure relationship (Ainsworth, Bowlby). Children´s learning is best understood developmentally. Behavior of all kinds is a form of communication. The classroom offers a safe space to nurture self-esteem and encourage language, which is a vital means of communication. By recreating the process of earliest learning, children build concepts, skills, controls, and develop autonomy. Nurture group educators interact intuitively with children and one another, modeling learning experiences similar to those experienced by students in their earliest years.