Luton nursery named as UK's first early years Ambassador School for mental health

The title recognises schools who have a focus on emotional health and wellbeing
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A nursery in Luton has become the UK’s first early years setting to become an Ambassador school for mental health.

Rothesay Nursery School has been named an ‘Ambassador School with Excellence in the Environment’ by Thrive, an organisation which trains teachers and other education professionals to support the emotional and social development of children.

The nursery was assessed in areas including how the teachers and staff helped students manage the ups and downs of life and be more open to learning.

L- R Teaching Assistant Rohini Bagoban; Teaching Assistant Helen Lodge; Family Worker Yvonne Janes and Deputy Headteacher and Senco Elizabeth Leer (quoted).L- R Teaching Assistant Rohini Bagoban; Teaching Assistant Helen Lodge; Family Worker Yvonne Janes and Deputy Headteacher and Senco Elizabeth Leer (quoted).
L- R Teaching Assistant Rohini Bagoban; Teaching Assistant Helen Lodge; Family Worker Yvonne Janes and Deputy Headteacher and Senco Elizabeth Leer (quoted).

The scheme recognises schools which are making a positive impact on their pupils, and the wider community, by having a focus on emotional health and creating an environment in which children’s wellbeing thrives.  

Elizabeth Leer, Deputy Headteacher and Senco at Rothesay Nursery School said: “The Early Years is such an important time and we believe that by embedding positive mental health at this stage, it sets a child up for success in their future education because they can be calm and ready to learn.

“We were very pleased and proud that we were the first maintained nursery school and early years setting to receive this award. Thrive is an approach that many schools and Early Years settings use to promote good mental health and wellbeing for their children. Being the first was a privilege and a testament to the hard work that we as a school have put into using the Thrive approach. The Ambassador School Award validated the work that we do within our school using the Thrive approach”.

The local authority-maintained nursery school has 98 children on its roll, who are aged from two to five, including many who have English as an Additional Language or who have complex Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. As well as a multi-sensory room, a music room and a soft playroom inside, the nursery school also has an outdoor area with play equipment and vegetable beds which it uses for forest school sessions.

Elizabeth added: “Our Thrive journey started in 2018 when myself and a colleague were sent on an introductory Thrive training course. I don’t mind saying I was sceptical at first because I thought that we already had a nurturing, positive approach. When I did the course, it was amazing. It just confirmed so many things for us about how adults should be around children in an Early Years setting. It has given us confidence and a framework to see how we need to be around our children”.

Mel Fisher, Thrive’s Relationship Manager for the South East, East and London said: “Rothesay Nursery School is a wonderful example of an Early Years setting that is putting positive mental health at the centre of children’s lives and learning.

"As a result, staff are helping young children to be emotionally-ready for the next stage of their education and to develop a love of learning that will help them to fulfil their potential. The moment you walk into the nursery you can feel that there is a lovely, calm atmosphere that helps the children to feel safe and nurtured by a team of adults who are dedicated to their wellbeing".

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