Resilience Model for Schools
EHCAP Ltd is working collaboratively with Somerset County Council and Somerset CCG developing Mindful Emotion Coaching in Somerset - this is a programme in which staff, parents, children and young people learn about the neuroscience of early brain development, the effects of toxic stress and the crucial importance of responsive relationships throughout infancy, childhood and into adulthood. We build core life skills in empathy through simple and easy to replicate psycho education tools such as Dan Siegel’s Hand Model Metaphor for brain function and John Gottman’s Emotion Coaching.
Mindful Emotion Coaching is most effective when embedded in a whole school approach which includes parents and the local community -take a look at the approach used by Avishayes Primary School, Chard written up on page 18 of our Somerset Emotion Coaching Project Report 2017 . The key learning from Avishayes is that responsive relationships are modelled by the Senior Leadership Team and emotional wellbeing and academic achievement are given equal importance in the school as a whole - the school mission statement is on page 5 of The Avishayes Prospectus. Support Services in Education (SSE) provided Emotion Literacy training for staff at Avishayes and will do the same in our two immersion schools this year- Dunster First School and Milborne Port Primary School. Other useful documents : The SSE SEMH Toolkit for schools and The Brighton and Hove Whole School Approach .
The core principles we are working from are:
- responsive relationships and positive experiences build sturdy brain architecture and promote healthy brain development starting before birth and during infancy and lasting into the mid twenties
- toxic stress disrupts the developing brain and other biological systems with lifelong consequences for learning, behaviour and health (more likely to have heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, addiction)
- the foundations of resilience can be strengthened in young children through reciprocal 'serve and return' interactions that scaffold life skills of self-regulation, emotion regulation and executive function
As adults around children in schools and communities we have the opportunity to model responsive relationships and scaffold life skills. In order to do this effectively we need to first build our own self regulation and executive function skills- this is what we are doing with Mindful Emotion Coaching Workshops. At EHCAP we believe that whole school resilience programmes need to start with these core values. We are developing mobile Youth Wellness Pods which will be run by coaches, counsellors and healers building skills in supportive relationships, mindfulness/ meditation practices, balanced nutrition, regular exercise, mental health and quality sleep.
The evidence base for a relationship centred aproach has been summarised by Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University - please click on this link to read 3 Principles to Improve Outcomes for Children and Young People
Mindful Emotion Coaching is all about building skills in self regulation as well as in responsive relationships. Through facilitated workshops and practice in the workplace as well as at home, Learners are encouraged to move through these phases:
Accept - and begin to
Adapt to make it your own
The Three Principles to Improve Outcomes* for Children and Young People
Professor Jack Shonkoff, Harvard University
(at 24 mins- 'everything genetic is shaped by the relationships we have and the environment in which we live'
at 48 mins- the difference between identifying population risk factors and improving outcomes for individual children
at 51 minutes- biological markers of toxic (oxidative) stress in the urine of babies and children
at 53 mins- collaboration of Scientists and Community Leaders working in partnership in a way that is empowering for parents and families
at 59 mins- biology of adversity- excessive (toxic) stress activation can result in both biological and behavioural changes with effects on attention, executive function and self regulation skills- these skills develop early (beginning under one year) in parts of the brain excessively vulnerable to the hormones released when stressed)
* this includes physical health outcomes such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, addiction
(could it be that experiencing responsive relationships during early brain development - sufficient to be able to socialise and hold effective relationships with others during childhood and into adulthood - is an independent predictor for a long life?)