How can nurture help you?

To nurture means to care for and protect something or someone while it is growing.

We can all do this. Parents, carers, and other family members nurture children. Teachers and other school staff nurture their pupils. Maybe you nurture a younger sibling or a pet?

What does nurture do?

  • Helps us to develop our social and emotional skills
  • Supports us as we grow
  • Builds our resilience and makes us feel better about ourselves
Teachers, and other school staff, nurture school pupils as they grow and learn.

There are six principles that explain how nurture can help you and others.

1. Our learning is understood developmentally

We are all individuals. That means not everyone learns at the same rate or time.

It's important not to get too worried or frustrated if you get stuck at something. Try not to compare yourself to others. It’s better to be patient and kind to ourselves. Try your best and be proud of what you can do.

2. The classroom offers a safe base

School should be a calm, safe environment for everyone.

Your school might look different after lockdown. Your tables and chairs might be spaced out more and you might have to move around the school in ways that you didn't before. These things are designed to keep everyone healthy and safe and to reassure you while you’re at school.

School should be a calm, safe environment for everyone.

3. The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing

Looking after ourselves and other people makes us feel good in mind and body.

One way of doing this is showing kindness. When we are kind to other people, it makes them feel happy. It is good for your health too.

Another example of nurture making us feel good is celebrating our achievements, no matter how small they might seem. When someone tells us we've done a good job, that makes us feel positive about ourselves. That's what nurture is all about.

Watch this video about the benefits of being kind with wellbeing professional Lorna Walker.

Wellbeing professional Lorna Walker talks about the benefits of being kind.

4. Language is a vital means of communication

What we say to people tells them a lot about us and how we're feeling.

Talking to someone you trust, like a teacher or classroom assistant, about how you feel can help them understand you and make you feel better too.

What we say to people tells them a lot about us and how we're feeling.

5. All behaviour is communication

It's not always easy to express how we feel in words. The way we behave towards other people says a lot about how we're feeling.

If someone in your class is misbehaving or not listening to the teacher's instructions, it's helpful to ask yourself:

  • How might they be feeling?
  • Why might they be behaving that way?
  • Are they feeling angry or frustrated? Or upset?

When we try to put ourselves in other people's shoes and imagine how they are feeling, this is called empathy.

6. The importance of transition in our lives

Change happens all the time. It can be exciting but it can also be scary.

There have been lots of changes this year because of coronavirus and lockdown.

Being back at school and spending time with all your classmates after being at home for months can be enjoyable but it can also be challenging. There might also be new rules and routines at school.

Remember, it's good to talk to people you trust about how you're feeling about any changes.

Watch this video about how to recognise and deal with change.

Wellbeing professional Lorna Walker shares how to recognise and deal with change.


Lucas, S., Insley,K. and Buckland,G. (2006) Nurture Group Principles and Curriculum Guidelines Helping Children to Achieve, nurtureuk.

Moore, C. (2020) Supporting post-lockdown education using the 6 Principles of Nurture, epinsight.

For more health and wellbeing resources, visit this collection on BBC Scotland Learning.

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