One school’s story of building resilience
From a video by ACE-Aware Scotland
A Scottish grassroots movement has set itself the goal of Making Scotland the First ACE-Aware Nation in the World. That was the title of a 2-day event held in Glasgow on 25th & 26th September 2018, attended by 2500 people from across the UK and beyond.
Hosted by two independent organisations – TIGERS and connected baby – the event brought together some of the leading speakers in Scotland, with the aim of explaining why a focus on relationships is central to preventing and healing adverse childhood experiences (ACES).
One of the speakers, headteacher Nicky Murray described the steps that staff at Burnside Primary School, in Carnoustie, Angus, have been taking as they work to put relationships and well-being at the heart of every single learning opportunity they offer to the 500 children in their care. This provocative approach has earned them not only the trust of parents, but also a commendation by HMIE as one of the leading primary schools in Scotland.
Here's a couple of quotes from his talk:
"One of the things I did when I first arrived was to think about how we could engage parents around well-being. So I ordered about 500 fridge magnets and sent them out to every home in the community with a script. The script countered the old, "What have you done at school today?" - "Nothing" conversation. It cultivated a language of learning around well-being. Things like "Did you see anybody do good work at your table today?". If so "Did you tell them? Did you celebrate it?". Or "Did you invite anybody a play a game he wasn't playing already?" because that's inclusion and if you didn't "Why not?".
The parents started to engage with that and start to support children to talk in a new way and at the same time parents started to talk to in a new way. After two years we surveyed all our parents and a hundred percent of our parents were using the school wellbeing language in and out of school which is pretty remarkable. So we were creating more of an allegiance of change. In every household, we were showing that there was a different way to communicate."
"Before the day starts I will stand outside the school and essentially just shake hands with every parent and grandparent and carer who comes in and all the children... By me standing outside and greeting all the parents, I'm showing the children that it's really about relationship. Even before they get into the school I am saying to them that you matter to me and the staff model exactly the same behaviours."
There are many other insights in the talk and it is well worth taking the time to view the session. Watch the 28 minute video here:
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