Thrive Approach: A teacher's guide

Paul Main

How can the thrive approach be adopted in your school to meet the diverse needs of all your children?

What is the Thrive Approach?

Thrive approach is a therapeutic technique to help support children with their social and emotional development. Thrive approach is a whole school strategy based around, current models of child development and current studies of effective learning to help schools to understand children's needs as shown by their behaviour. The development of children is dependent upon having certain needs met. This hierarchy of needs has to be addressed in order for healthy child development. In this article, we address some questions about thrive and the various thrive assessments.

The Thrive approach provides practical strategies and methods and is created on basis of online assessments which specify the emotional development of children and action plans to fulfil their individual needs. Class thrive activities and techniques can be used by whole classes to address any matters of child development or as a component of PSHE sessions in school. Mental health awareness has improved in recent years and these types of assessment tools are designed to give Schools a clear a picture of the key development milestones. Whether you are a special school or a mainstream school, mental health difficulties need to be addressed at their earliest stage.

Current studies show that people's behaviour is associated with how they feel and their emotions are associated with how they learn. Teaching children to notice and identify these emotions and feelings can help with child development and learning.

Sometimes, children may need some additional support with their emotional health and it can be short-term or for a longer duration. Thrive supports children's social and emotional growth by creating positive relationships between a child, his peers and his teachers and helps them understand and analyze their feelings with the help of various activities.

What is the historical background of Thrive?

The Thrive Approach is a trauma-sensitive, developmental and dynamic approach to develop the social and emotional skills within the children. It is through this approach that Thrive aims to achieve its goal of a world where the social and emotional needs of children are well understood and met.

Thrive was established over 25 years ago with the sole purpose of providing tools and training to help adults promote the emotional and social development of the young people and children they are working with. Thrive works with local authorities, pre-primary, primary & secondary education settings, health and social care professionals, multi-academy trusts (MATs), and carers and parents. Currently, Thrive is offering a yearly subscription, depending upon the sizes of educational settings.

What is included in a Thrive session?

Many children face difficulties at school. Some of these difficulties are:

  • Difficulty to get settled in the classroom;
  • Difficulties with friendships;
  • Difficulty in managing strong feelings on their own;
  • Difficult situations and trouble at playtime.

These difficulties can result in many different feelings which may seem hard at times. These may cause anxiety, confusion, sadness, frustration, anger and loneliness. To feel this way is normal and will happen with most children. The Thrive sessions promote children's learning at school and help them to manage their feelings. Both secondary schools, primary schools as well as pre-schools use Thrive Approach to make children more emotionally resilient. This makes children better equipped to handle the ups and downs of life.

The Thrive Approach Framework
The Thrive Approach Framework

How does Thrive help children?

Thrive Online Profiling and Action-Planning Tool provides adults with the required skills, insights and tools needed to help children catch up on any gaps and interruptions they may have due to a challenging childhood. Thrive Online assessments provide an all-inclusive way to measure and monitor children's performance; assess student outcomes and help young individuals in better dealing with various issues in life. According to empirical evidence, the Thrive Approach makes staff feel more capable to manage distressed behaviour. The Thrive Approach provides age-appropriate activities and strategies for adolescence, childhood and early years draws from the fields of attachment theory, established neuroscience, play and arts, development and creativity transactional analysis.

What are the two main elements of Thrive Approach?

Thrive has 2 main elements:

  • The Thrive-Online assessment and planning tool, and
  • The Thrive Training and Mentoring for Teaching Staff.

Thrive-Online is a web-based intervention. Thrive supports the individual assessment of social skills and emotional wellbeing based on whole-class screening as well as baseline skills and observed behaviours. Every child’s needs and the ways to address them begin from the targeted, individual action plans, which may be applied from weeks to several years on basis of the individual needs of the child. Education professionals can assess groups of young people against age-related expectations, and recommendations on curriculum strategies, classroom organisation and environmental changes, will be provided to fulfil the learning needs identified.

Childcare settings looking to implement Thrive are suggested to train one (or two for larger schools) staff member at a minimum by sending the staff on the professional training programme. After attending a 10-day training session the staff may use the online tool to guide their work, in class with a small group of children to apply the personally designed action plans into the class.

What is the impact of Thrive on children and teachers?

The positive impact of Thrive on young persons, children, the environment for children and the communities around them are provided in some studies. These mainly include:

  • The Thrive Approach guides class teachers on how to deal with each child’s unique and sometimes challenging behaviour;
  • Thrive journey makes children more self-assured and ready to engage with learning while they spend time in school and in after school life;
  • It helps to develop resilience in young people;
  • It enables adults to prepare young people and children to face emotional ups and downs of life;
  • It narrows the gap for vulnerable young people across a range of criteria including self-confidence, attainment, relationships, attendance and behaviour;
  • The use of Thrive techniques makes Staffs feel more able to support vulnerable children and to manage unwanted behaviour;
  • Thrive gives training for secondary & primary school teachers that work closely with young people and children all through their lives, and it also involves parents in this process;
  • Thrive training opportunities offer a targeted intervention for child development based on current neuroscience and attachment research;
  • Thrive processes are underpinned by extensive assessment and action planning tool that measures outcomes and charts progress;
  • It is considered as an initiative that promotes and supports mental wellbeing in young people;
  • Schools have reported many benefits of the friendly environment created as a result of Thrive Approach. These mainly include improved academic results, reduced exclusions and the fewer disruptive situation in class;
  • The Thrive Approach may lead to improved staff morale, a calm environment in the classroom and better parent-school relationships.

The Department for Education aims to support schools to develop approaches and build whole school environments where each student can achieve full potential. While discussing the impact of Thrive School Approach, inspectors said that Thrive helps to manage student behavioural difficulties on an individual basis, especially when used for early intervention, helping learners in becoming more open to learning.

The Thrive developmental strands
The Thrive developmental strands