The Den is at the heart of the school. It is a designated and purpose designed space which supports the social and emotional needs of our pupils here at St James's. Some pupils will access the den when dealing with an isolated incident, whilst others visit as part of a longer term programme.
A Day in the life of the Den
•8.30am onwards – Soft Start (morning transition)
•During morning lessons, pupils may come into The Den as required when feeling dysregulated
•12.30pm – Lunchtime Lounge – pupils have Den passes and can choose to come in, as needed
•During afternoon lessons, pupils may come into The Den as required when feeling dysregulated
•Wednesday afternoons – Nurture Group (100 minute model)
•Friday afternoons – Social Groups
•Other uses – Play Therapy
The Den can be accessed from 8.30am for morning transition. For pupils experiencing difficulty with separation, use of The Den for a smooth transition has reduced anxiety for pupils and parents but has also reduced workload for the office staff and school staff who were previously receiving a number of pupils from a number of year groups all of whom had to be escorted to their individual classrooms. Morning routines are calmer and more conducive to a positive start than they have ever been.
Comments from The Nurture group pupils
“I like playing with new people.”
“It helps me to talk about my feelings more.”
“I enjoyed it when we learned all about the Self Esteem Thief!”
“I like sitting around the table talking at toast time because we don’t do this in my house.”
“I like it when we give each other positive comments at the end of the session. I’ve had loads!”
“I didn’t realise before that I had things in common with some of these children. I’ve got new friends now.”
"Children are choosing to access the support available meaning that they are becoming increasingly aware of their own emotions and when they need to seek support in managing them.” Head teacher
Alongside the set up of the Den in 2019 the staff at St James's received Emotion Coaching training which has been invaluable as a strategy for de-escalation. Staff are also now more frequently seeking out the support and advice of the Nurture Group practitioners as we learn more about the principles and how they can be used in our every day classroom environments.
In November 2019, we were proud to receive The Wellbeing Award for Schools. The assessment involved recognised the role The Den plays at St James's and our report stated, "it has had an enormous impact in children’s behaviours, safety, feeling of security, ability to manage their own emotions and self-regulate.”