Tansley Primary School

Learn, Lead, Achieve, Together We Succeed

Positive Play, Willow Group and Lego Group

Positive Play

At Tansley Primary School we have a room dedicated to the Positive Play programme.  Positive Play is a Derbyshire early intervention school based initiative to help support children.  The programme aims "To raise the self-esteem of children and young people, helping them to access the curriculum and so achieve their potential."


The Positive Play Support programme can help children to feel special, help them to express and communicate their feelings, feel good about themselves, raise their self-esteem, and improve their social skills in a reliable, safe and supportive environment.


The Positive Play programme aims to:

  • allow young people a space to express and communicate feelings and difficulties in their lives, through a variety of media in a constructive rather than aggressive ways and in a safe non-threatening environment
  • help young people feel good about themselves, and raise self-esteem by providing activities that look at their strengths and by valuing what they do and making it special
  • provide a non-authoritarian, supportive, reliable, safe, unconditional relationship within the school and other settings
  • provide some of the early experiences that might (may) have been missed but which are necessary for formal education and social interaction
  • help young people acquire the complex range of life skills needed to achieve their full potential.


Our Positive Play staff are Mrs Brock and Mrs Pearson.

Willow Group

Willow Group is the name given to the nurture group at Tansley Primary School.  At our school Willow Group takes place once a week.  Willow Groups were orginally set  up in June 2019 at Tansley Primary School with the support of Derbyshire County Council.


The group is designed to work in partnership between home and school so that the children can feel safe and secure so that they can develop and grow in their own individual ways.  Willow group has a table to share snacks, a space to play games and a space to work collaboratively.


What is the purpose of a Nurture Group and the philosophy?

Willow group is a purposefully small class of pupils (6 to 8).  The provision is a part of the school's intervention, inclusion and PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) provision.  Willow Group offers the children opportunities to re-visit early learning skills and promote, support and further develop their social and emotional development.  A child's learning is the most effective when they feel like they have a sense of belonging, emotional well-being and good self-esteem within the school community. This means that Willow Group gives the children the opportunity to develop their maturity and resilience whist learning.  The Willow Group Room is a place of learning. There is much evidence to show that children have greater success in their usual class lessons after they have has 12 weeks in a nurture group.   


The philosophy of a nurture room is drawn from the principles established by the work of Marjorie Boxall and others, and exemplified by 'The Nurture Group Network'.


The Willow Group Principles:

  • Children's learning is understood developmentally
  • The classroom offers a safe base
  • All behaviour is communication
  • The importance of transition in children's loves
  • Has a high adult to child ratio to provide lots of opportunities for speaking and listening activities
  • Builds a child's self-esteem
  • Builds skills for classroom learning
  • Has daily crafts, games and a 'mini-tea'
  • Language is a vital form of communication
  • Is a short focused intervention of around 12 weeks.


Before attending the group

  • Staff at school will highlight to the Willow Group Team children who may benefit from the programme.
  • Staff will complete a Boxall Profile to determine what targets the children will work on in the group.
  • Parents will receive a letter and be requested to sign a permission slip.


Why might children attend?

Children may benefit from Willow Group at school for a very wide set of reason, but the most common are:

  • Friendship difficulties
  • Quiet or shy or withdrawn
  • Finding it hard to listen to others or to join in (or shouting out in class)
  • Being disruptive of others
  • Finding it hard to lose a game
  • Finding it hard to take turns
  • Finding it hard to settle in
  • Finding transition difficult
  • Bullying
  • Low self-esteem
  • Needing to develop relationships with adults in school
  • Bereavement
  • Illness, family illness or break-up


How will Willow Group help my child?

Willow Group can boost confidence and self-esteem and provide the children with the extra help sometimes needed to improve social skills and independence for example:

  • To join in
  • To settle in
  • To listen
  • To concentrate
  • To share and take turns
  • To accept losing a game
  • To build friendships
  • It gives them a chance and helps to encourage a more positive profile among their peers and members of staff. 


Does this mean my child is naughty?

No, the sessions are designed to help them manage situations and increase their skills to become a more successful learner.


How long will my child be in Willow Group?

Children attend on a part-time basis for a period of 12 weeks.  However, we will ensure that the children do not miss out on special assemblies, guests to school, outings or anything in school that may be different from the normal school routine of the week.


An afternoon in Willow Group

Children follow a structure and routine that is clear to both the children and the staff, these include group listening and speaking, work tasks, individual and shared play and social skills.  Willow Group runs on consistency, positive reinforcement and praise.

An afternoon revolves around a theme for the session.  All pupils understand what they are going to learn and improve during that session.  The pupils have the opportunity to share good news, explore thoughts and feeling and work collaboratively on a practical task.  Children work with new peers within the group on a regular basis to encourage co-operation and confidence. 


How can I find out how my child is doing?

Parents and carers are welcome to make an appointment to visit the group, and talk to the staff at the end of a session. Special event invitations are sent out to join us for example; open afternoon or a Mother's Day Tea or simply just for snack time and a chat Please contact the office to make an appointment with Mrs. Pearson.


If you would like more information the following website may be useful to you:

Lego Group

Tansley Primary School set up a school-based group using the principles of 'Lego Therapy' in the spring of 2020, to help children develop social and communication skills in a safe and nurturing environment.


Building with Lego bricks is a fun activity at any age and is a multi-sensory, open-ended experience.  Lego motivates children to work together in pairs or a small group to problem solve and build a collective model, according to a set of agreed rules.


Each child is assigned a role as either 'architect' or 'builder'.

  • The engineer gives verbal descriptions and instructions of the pieces needed and the directions for assembling the bricks together.
  • The builder follows the given instructions from the engineer to build the project.
  • The supplier supplies the builder with the part required.


Roles are switched either at the start of the session or half way through the task and this division of skills with a common purpose allows the children to practice joint attention, turn-taking, speaking and listening skills.


The group meets once a week for 30 minutes and is facilitated by Mrs. Goodwin. She promotes positive interactions, suggests compromises, provides prompts if needed and keeps the group on task.