The Federation of Fairfield and Colneis

Thrive Approach

At the Federation of Fairfield and Colneis we know that the most important thing for all children is to feel safe and secure and from such a strong base amazing learning can take place.

Just as we support all children to develop their academic skills, we strongly believe that all children should have the opportunity to learn about their emotions and how they influence our social interactions and ultimately our learning and lives. Every child at the Federation from Reception through to Year 6 will have the chance to develop their social and emotional skills and learn how their brain works and influences their emotions.

Every child is an individual and will react differently to challenging emotional situations, whether they are day to day or unexpected life events. Since 2018 we have adopted a whole school approach to supporting all children with their social and emotional wellbeing and development using the Thrive Approach. By using the Thrive Approach we are able to screen whole classes so that teachers can support all children to develop their social and emotional skills at an age appropriate level. We are also able to create individualised support offering tailor made sessions for children after consent has been given by their parent or guardian.

We recognise that life does not always run smoothly, sometimes unexpected events happen such as family bereavement, families separating, as well as the usual developmental challenges of friendships, family relationships and challenges at school. By supporting every child to understand how emotions affect us and our decisions, we can support every child to become successful life-long learners.

Meet The Team

Who is someone you admire, and why?

There are so many people I admire, all for different reasons, but if I had to pick out one, at the moment it would be Greta Thunberg- environmental activist.

I really admire how determined she is, her belief in her cause that she didn’t let anyone talk her out of it. I think she was quite remarkable for standing up to people who were unkind to her and she just kept going- even when it got personal. She sacrificed a lot but she believed that it was all worthwhile to save our planet.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I work with lots of different children either on a one to one or in small groups. We get sticky, messy and play lots of fun games together in the Thrive room based at each school. There is usually quite a lot of laughter and mess- and we are often running late because we lose track of time. I seem to spend a lot of time rushing from one school to another as I try and squash as much into a day as I can.

Then I head home and switch into Mum mode and catch up with my family about their days and all things home- I try and sneak in a dog walk as well to catch some fresh air and retune into nature.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

As a child I played the piano, guitar and clarinet- I’m assuming that I still could if I wanted to but it has been a while!

If you could be anywhere other than here, right this minute, where would you be?

Sitting on a beach in the warm sunshine somewhere hot listening to the waves lapping on the shore

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?

I wanted to be a police officer- but I really wanted to be a dog handler in the police

Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me…

drinking a cup of coffee, walking the dog or standing on the side of a football pitch- sometimes all of these together!

How do you want people to remember you?

That I always had time for them

What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?

I hope that I bring an open mind, a kind heart that doesn’t judge people, a curiosity to look beyond what I see so that I can really understand and maybe a little bit of silliness!

Name three words that you describe you.?

Authentic (what you see if what you get), thoughtful, nature loving

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

Well there are a few different things, being with my family, seeing friends and laughing a lot but probably one of my favourite things is sitting in front of a fire with a good book feeling cosy and snug.

What’s the most inspiring part of your job?

Having the time and the trust of wonderful young people to really get to know them, so that they can be totally themselves and be relaxed in that space

What would be your personal motto?

This is one that I have stolen from my son, “you can only be yourself as everyone else is already taken.”

Who is someone you admire, and why?

I admire many different people for a variety of reasons but one that stands out is Malala Yousafzai. After reading the book she wrote at 11 years old, I was amazed by her perseverance, resilience and bravery that she showed fighting for the right to an education for girls.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Working between both schools I have the opportunity to get to know lots of children across the Federation. I am very lucky as I have fun-filled days of arty, creative, sometimes messy Thrive activities to look forward to!

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

I play competitive badminton across Suffolk!

If you could be anywhere other than here, right this minute, where would you be? (Don’t overthink it!)

I would love to be back in sunny Australia where I was lucky enough to live for 6 months when my daughter was young.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?

I really wanted to be a vet (as I love animals) but then I realised it wasn’t the best job for me, as I’m not keen on the sight of blood!

Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me…

Maybe out for a run and then encouraging my teenage son out of bed to do his homework!

How do you want people to remember you?  

That I was kind, positive and a good listener.

What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?

I like to think I bring patience, kindness and empathy, together with a bit of fun!

Name three words that describe you.

Kind, friendly and calm.

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

I love spending my time with my family, trying to keep fit and going down to the beach for some fresh air and to listen to the waves. I think one of my happiest times of the day is reading a good book each evening before I go to sleep.

What’s the most inspiring part of your job?

Building a trusting relationship with the children that enables them to flourish and truly be themselves. I love seeing the different, awesome skills and talents that all the young people I work with have.

What would be your personal motto?

Try to be kind every day.

Who is someone you admire, and why?

Whilst I do admire a few historical figures and famous individuals for what they have done for the world or how they enrich our lives, I have no greater admiration for a woman who can raise children, look after a household and perhaps have a full time job/career. All of which are not easy and no matter the struggle or highs and lows, they do it all for the love in their hearts for the people who make life worthwhile. Well done to most of us mums who are heroes in my eyes.

What’s a typical day like for you?

The average day consists of preparing breakfast for the family and making sure everyone has lunch to take with them to school/work, before getting ready myself and heading into school where I spend time delivering individual Thrive sessions or in the classroom with different classes helping the teachers with school learning. After school I do try to do a little exercise of some sort, even if it’s a brisk walk, as I do enjoy keeping active. I cook Tea and the family always eat with each other and we talk about our day which I feel is so important. I end the day with a bit of TV or reading or perhaps some social media before bedtime.  

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

I am a really good decorator and have decorated every room in every house I have lived in since being an adult. I particularly excel in wallpaper hanging. 

If you could be anywhere other than here, right this minute, where would you be?  

So many people say they would like to be on a beach enjoying the sun and whilst that would be wonderful right at this moment I would love to turn the clock back a few months so that I could once again be with my mum as she is an angel now. I would tell her how much I miss her and how I valued every moment that she was my mum. 

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?  I wanted to be a Singer/Actress 

Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me

At the moment, decorating my new house

How do you want people to remember you?

I want to be remembered for my bubbly personality and my compassion and commitment to others

What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?

My energy and dedication. I try to have fun when I am with others and make an impact on them

Name three words that you describe you.

Likable, caring and funny

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

Spending time with family and friends, sharing good times and making happy memories

What’s the most inspiring part of your job?

What a difference I can make to someone just by being with them and making them understand how special and unique they truly are.

What would be your personal motto

I couldn’t decide so I have three-

  • Never underestimate the impact a smile can have to someone’s day
  • A moment of kindness can last a lifetime
  • Walk with your head up so that you can notice the world and people around you

Family Thrive

Helping you know what to do and how to be with your young people

Family Thrive programmes are run by schools using the Thrive Approach to help parents and carers understand how the Approach makes a positive difference to the wellbeing of your children – and therefore the whole family, including you!

The Thrive Approach shows you how to be – and the impact this has on those around you. It helps you to understand why your children might behave the way they do. You will discover how to ensure your time and interactions with your children have a positive impact.

Family Thrive will offer you some strategies and activities that help build positive relationships in your family unit, for the wellbeing of each and every one of you. (from

Here at the Federation, we are pleased to be able to offer this course to introduce you to the fundamentals of Thrive and how it works in real life.

Each course is for 6 weeks and is for 2 hours per week. Any parent, carer or grandparent with a child(ren) at the Federation are invited.

This course will tell you about:

  • The Thrive Approach
  • How the brain works
  • How your right brain talks to your left brain!
  • Why play and creativity are so important to you and your child
  • How to support your child at times of change and difficulty
  • Everyday trigger times and how to keep calm
  • How to be a behaviour detective

If you are interested in finding out more about Family Thrive please completed the ‘Expression of Interest’ form and email it or if you would like to discuss this in more detail to learn more, please call Carolyn Shaw or Dawn Piper.

Thrive FAQs

Once it has been agreed for a child to take part in either a small group or individual session, the Thrive Practitioner along with the child’s class teacher will complete an assessment from which an Action Plan of activities and skills to be developed will be created.

The Thrive Practitioner will work with a child and continue to assess their progress in an ongoing manner.

The Thrive Team is happy to meet with parents/carers to create a ‘Home Action Plan’ if this is requested.

The Thrive Team will create an individualised plan for your child which they will work to in order to support your child to develop new social and emotional skills. This will include playing, arts and crafts, sandtray activities, being outside, puppet work and much more.

All sessions are based in the understanding of a strong and safe relationship with the child at the centre of the activities.

Sessions take place within the school day, and last for approximately 30 minutes per week

Although your child is likely to be upset as the sessions have ended as they have been having such a great time, it is also great news as they have reached a stage where they are able to manage their emotions more themselves.

They will continue to be able to speak to the Thrive Team whenever they feel that life is becoming tricky, but they will be supported everyday by their Teacher and TA. They will continue to develop their social and emotional skills along with their classmates in their weekly PSHE lessons.

If you have any concerns, please raise them with your child’s teacher in the first instance.

If you are worried that your child’s behaviour is out of character, perhaps they are becoming upset more easily, they are having more angry outbursts, they are not sleeping well or seem more worried than normal please let us know. Talk to your child’s class teacher as soon as you become aware that this change in behaviour is not going away. Your teacher will then find the best way to support you and your child.

We are proud to have a team of Thrive Practitioners who work at both schools. Please take a look at ‘Meet the Team’ section and meet the team. They have a wealth of experience and are here to support you and your child.

We recognise that lunchtimes can often be a challenging time for some children. WIth this in mind we invite children to attend themed days to support them in areas which have be recognised by school staff or parents.

Club themes maybe around ‘Friendships’,  ‘Yoga and being calm’ or ‘Social Skills.’ Whilst a child will be invited to attend, they will not be forced to come along as it is their choice- they may prefer to play with friends.

Family THRIVE Resources

Family THRIVE Expression of Interest

THRIVE Rooms Gallery

Fairfield Thrive Room

Useful Resources

An easy introduction into mindfulness for children up to 11, this especially focuses on getting ready to sleep

A short film to support children who may have experienced bereavement

The Magic Shell guided meditation to help soothe and calm busy minds

Your Secret Treehouse -guided mediation to soothe busy minds and bodies

Spaceship to the Moon- Guided meditation to take you to the stars!

 A short video which will help to explain to your child about their thoughts, how they pop up like bubbles. How we can learn to let them float by without them becoming a worry

WHY DO WE LOSE CONTROL OF OUR EMOTIONS- a great video to explain why we have emotions and how are brain works

PARTLY CLOUDY- a video to watch together and see how many emotions you can spot, maybe have a chat about why they felt them

THE PRESENT- a video that looks at being different, being accepted and those strong feelings of anger, disgust and acceptance

LIFTED- a great Pixar short film to enjoy together

BOUNDIN- A short film about accepting who you are

THE COLOUR MONSTER STORY- a story to explain about all our emotions and how they can get jumbled up

THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT– A story about having to do something when you don’t want to.

There are lots more videos on YouTube to cover all different emotions is there is something in particular you would like to watch with your child.

Here are some ideas that should be quite easy to do at home and do not need too many craft items- lots of these will be things that you did (or may still do) with your children before they started school.

Making and playing together is really important, it is a great way for your child to experience different senses and then think about times they might feel like this linked to their emotions (for example a spiky pine cone- they might feel spiky as they start to get annoyed).

Slime making – we know it’s messy but kids really love it!

Baking – this is a great activity to do together, it’s sensory, plus you all get to enjoy what you have made and your child will enjoy the feeling of success/independence throughout the experience as they improve their skills

Calm down jars/bottle – these are fun and cheap to make and are a great tool to support anxious or nervous children, or if you really need to support your child to find some calm quiet time. We like using old drinks bottles and gluing the lid on so it doesn’t all come out!

Junk modelling – robots, cars, unicorns etc. Use up all your old recycling, add some paint and see where your imaginations can take you!

Paper mache projects – these need a little more time to make, but they can be something simple and quick, or make masks and then have fun acting together or even make an ornament to keep to remember the fun time

I Spy – time together to look and notice what is around. Whether you are in the car or just filling time, a great game to help refocus if your child has started to become overwhelmed or a little wild.

Treasure hunts/ Den building, indoors or outside – these are great to develop that curiosity, to get hands on in nature. Once you have built something, they can become a safe cosy play to read a book or have some quiet chill out time. If you are outside, try using the 5 senses and practise grounding ( a brilliant tool for adults and children when our thoughts start to runaway with us).

Bracelet making – you don’t need a special kit, have a look around and see what you have to make a bracelet- don’t forget your pasta in the cupboard!

Painting projects – massive sheets of paper on the floor, or a small sheet on the table. This is fun to do, or a chance to ask your child to paint a feeling and see what they make. Remember if you are painting feelings, give it a go too.

Make a film, editing/photo taking – take those photos on a phone and tell a story, practise making funny faces, or record a family pet. Enjoy what you have made together.

Guided meditation – a fantastic skills for us all, there are brilliant videos on YouTube. This can help for getting to sleep, or if you have a child who finds it hard to switch their thoughts off. Drift off to another place and learn to let your thoughts just drift by and not have to do anything with them.

For more ideas as well as many others here are some of our favourite and tested websites HAVE FUN!  millions of ideas of everything you can think of!  arts, crafts and projects  art & craft and activities  art & craft ideas    meditation and yoga, healthy movement  arts & crafts      arts & crafts   fun science experiments     simple mindfulness for calming children, supporting sleep and managing worries using arts to express how we are feeling, lots of free ideas a fun website with characters for different emotions as well as lots of fun printables

As we find more articles and website we will keep adding them onto here, so keep an eye out!