The Sunshine Room

Sunnybank Primary is proud to be a nurturing school. Our Sunshine Room is a pleasant environment in which some children work in a small group for parts of the week. It provides a safe, predictable and structured environment which helps children to be more focused on their learning.

Staff model positive relationships and there is an emphasis on the development of language and communication skills.

Children make best progress when parents, staff and children all work together.

The regular routines include practical activities such as preparing snack, baking and gardening.  The children will take part in outdoor activities.

They are supported to engage in co-operative play. An important part of the session will be snack time, where the children are encouraged to take turns and listen to each other.

 In the Sunshine Room, we like children to:

Enjoy new experiences
with adults and children.

Make relationships and
feel positive about themselves.

Learn to share,negotiate and take turns
with each other.

Be able to accept praise and be 
supportive of each other.

Learn new skills
through play experiences.

Feel safe, happy,
secure and confident.

1. Children’s learning is understood developmentally
In a nurture group staff respond to children not in terms of arbitrary expectations about ‘attainment
levels’ but in terms of the children’s developmental progress assessed through the Boxall Profile
Handbook. The response to the individual child is ‘as they are’, underpinned by a non-judgemental
and accepting attitude.
2. The classroom offers a safe base
The organisation of the environment and the way the group is managed contains anxiety. The
nurture group room offers a balance of educational and domestic experiences aimed at supporting
the development of the children’s relationship with each other and with the staff. The nurture group
is organised around a structured period of time with predictable routines. Great attention is paid to
detail; the adults are reliable and consistent in their approach to the children. Nurture groups are
an educational provision making the important link between emotional containment and cognitive
3. Nurture is important for the development of self-esteem
Nurture involves listening and responding. In a nurture group ‘everything is verbalised’ with an
emphasis on the adults engaging with the children in reciprocal shared activities e.g. play / meals /
reading /talking about events and feelings. Children respond to being valued and thought about as
individuals, so in practice this involves noticing and praising small achievements; ‘nothing is
hurried in nurture groups‘.
4. Language is understood as a vital means of communication
Language is more than a skill to be learnt, it is the way of putting feelings into words. Nurture
group children often ‘act out’ their feelings as they lack the vocabulary to ‘name’ how they feel. In
nurture groups the informal opportunities for talking and sharing, e.g. welcoming the children into
the group or having breakfast together are as important as the more formal lessons teaching
language skills. Words are used instead of actions to express feelings and opportunities are
created for extended conversations or encouraging imaginative play to understand the feelings of
5. All behaviour is communication
This principle underlies the adult response to the children’s often challenging or difficult behaviour.
‘Given what I know about this child and their development what is this child trying to tell me?’
Understanding what a child is communicating through behaviour helps staff to respond in a firm
but non-punitive way by not being provoked or discouraged. If the child can sense that their
feelings are understood this can help to diffuse difficult situations. The adult makes the link
between the external / internal worlds of the child.
6. Transitions are significant in the lives of children
The nurture group helps the child make the difficult transition from home to school. However, on a daily basis there are numerous transitions the child makes, e.g. between sessions and classes
and between different adults. Changes in routine are invariably difficult for vulnerable children and
need to be carefully managed with preparation and support