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Thrive at Herbert Thompson


What is Thrive?

Here at Herbert Thompson we are embracing the Thrive Approach. Thrive is a therapeutic approach to help support children with their emotional and social development. The Thrive approach offers practical strategies and techniques and is built around online assessments which identify children’s emotional development and provides action plans for their individual needs.

Research has shown that how we behave is linked to how we feel and our emotions are linked to how we learn. By teaching children to recognise and notice these feelings and emotions it can help with their development and learning. Children sometimes need some extra support with their emotional growth and this can be temporary or over a longer period of time. Thrive promotes their emotional and social growth by building positive relationships between a child and their peers and helps them explore and understand their feelings through various activities.

Why might my child attend a Thrive session?

Many children experience difficulties during their time at school. These may include:

  • Difficulties with friendships.

  • Getting into trouble at playtime.

  • Finding it hard to settle in the classroom.

  • Finding it difficult to manage their strong feelings.

  • Not knowing who to turn to when feelings are too big to manage on their own.

These situations can lead to many different feelings which may seem overwhelming at times. They might include: anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness, confusion or anxiety. All these feelings are very normal and happen to a lot of children. The Thrive sessions are to help children learn to manage their feelings and teach them strategies that will help promote their learning at school.

What will happen in a Thrive session?

The session may be on an individual basis or as part of a small group of children. During each session there will be an activity which may include:

  • Movement and relaxation

  • Hand and foot massage

  • Cooking and preparing food

  • Role play and puppet work

  • Games

  • Story telling

  • Circle games

  • Arts and crafts

  • Sand play


Our aim here at Herbert Thompson

Our aim is to develop children emotionally so they are able to recognise and distinguish their emotions and learn ways of responding to their feelings appropriately.

We aim to:

  • Provide alternative support for children who are experiencing emotional, social or behavioural difficulties.

  • Provide a safe and calm environment for children to develop their skills.

  • Enable children to take pride in their achievements and enhance self-esteem.

  • Help children to manage their feelings and develop skills to enjoy and participate in school life.

  • Use positive approaches to manage all behaviours.

Attune: This is where you are alert to how they are feeling. You Demonstrate that you understand the intensity, pitch, pace, volume, expansiveness or special experience of the child’s emotional state.


Validate: This is where you are alert to the child’s experience. This Needs to happen before you move to help them regulate it. This is the beginning of being able to think about feelings. 


Containment: This is where you demonstrate that you understand the pitch, intensity, quality of their feeling or mood and that you can bear it. This is where you show that you can take their deep distress, raging anger or painful sorrow and make it a survivable experience. Catch it, match it and digest it by thinking about it and offering it back, named, in small digestible pieces. This builds trust for the child: in you, in adults and in the world. 


Regulate-Soothe, calm, and stimulate: This is where you must be alert to how they are feeling and demonstrate emotional regulation by soothing and calming their distress. Catch it, match it and help the child to regulate the feeling up or down. They need to experience being calmed before they can do it for themselves. 


Thrive Practitioners are trained to use VRF’s and are happy to demonstrate them and encourage any parents to use them too.

When you RESPOND to me I look, I understand, I learn, my brain grows. When you CUDDLE me I feel safe, I learn about feelings and will learn to care for others too. When you RELAX with me I learn to manage stress and how to calm myself down. When you PLAY with me I learn about the world and develop memories and understanding. When you TALK to me I learn to listen and develop my own language skills. Positive relationships are at the heart of Thrive. There are some key ways to be in a relationship with a child that enable us to develop and strengthen these positive bonds, such as the VRF system. Vital Relational Functions (VRF’s), when provided within a significant relationship with an adult, provide a sound basis for a child’s emotional and social and development. By implementing the VRF system in your relationships you can contribute to this vital development.

More information

For more information about the Thrive approach see the website: or contact a member of staff here at Herbert Thompson Primary.

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