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Woodlands High School

Woodlands High School

Cardiff

Wales

THRIVE

What does it take to develop healthy, happy, confident children who are ready and open to learning? Recent advances in neuroscience, attachment theory and child development have provided some of the answers to this question.

The Thrive Approach draws on insights from these fields to provide a powerful way of working with children and young people that supports optimal social and emotional development. In particular, the Approach equips you to work in a targeted way with children and young people who have struggled with difficult life events to help them re-engage with life and learning.

The Thrive Approach is grounded in the current scientific developments in neuroscience. The field of neuroscience has undergone rapid advances in recent years, prompted by significant innovations in brain imaging. These have yielded important insights about how the brain and nervous system function and develop. In particular, scientists have discovered that the neural pathways of the brain and wider nervous system are relatively unformed at birth, undergoing much of their development during the first three years of life in response to relational experiences with primary care-givers. A key development during this period is the establishment of the body’s stress-response system.

This lays the foundation for our social and emotional development throughout life, affecting our capacity to relate, love, learn and manage stress in healthy ways. However, research has also revealed the inherent ‘plasticity’ of the brain – its capacity to forge new neural connections in response to experience. The fact that the brain retains this property to a greater or lesser degree throughout life means that where brain development has been less than optimal, it remains possible to intervene at a later stage to fill the gaps.

We are currently  training up three members of staff within this area and have plans to use this approach as a tool to assess the emotional literacy amongst most if not all our students. From this assessment students will then be identidied to undergoe specific intervention with our trained ELSA's Mrs N Malpas and Mr A Williams.

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