Personal Development Learning (PDL) is fundamental to understanding ourselves, others and the wider world, it is enabling us to be the very best. We provide an inclusive PDL curriculum where pupils can explore their role in the world, relationships, celebrating differences, learn how to keep themselves safe (including on-line) and understand how they will grow and change. There is a proven link between pupils' health and wellbeing, and their academic progress. We believe teaching these crucial skills and positive attitudes are critical to ensuring pupils are effective learners. Within PDL, we also teach the statutory elements of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) at an age appropriate level.
We use a programme called JIGSAW where each year group follows the same theme in each half term. Our pupils receive at least weekly bespoke lessons alongside developing discussions as topics arise.
Children who need specific support may receive this from our Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) who use other programmes of support e.g. FEIPS (Framework for Enhanced Individual Pastoral Support) which provides the opportunity for children to explore their feelings, empower them to find their own resolutions and build resilience for their future. Or they will use Thrive which is a dynamic, developmental and trauma-sensitive approach to meeting the emotional and social needs of children. We engage parents as much as possible.
When pupils leave our school, they will have developed key skills and attributes within our MERTON values of Motivation, Excellence, Respect, Teamwork, Opportunities and Never Give Up. The will enable them to have a sense of self-worth and security in who they are, and who they hope to become; they will have developed a moral compass to guide them through life and be able to build positive relationships and make valuable contributions to the world around them.
The Trick Box programme is used at Merton Infant school to help pupils develop emotionally as well as academically. It helps build positive and happy life habits by giving children strategies for developing resilience and effective communication. It is a simple, fun, and effective, whole school, whole family, emotional management, and personal development programme to support children’s mental health.
Trick box is a set of cards or tricks. It’s visual and fun to use. It has been created by educational psychologists to be a personal development programme which emphasises positivity and helps children and adults to develop important skills which will help them through their school years and later through their adult life.
Trick box aims to help individuals to:
In many ways it’s all about communication reading other people’s body language and being able to express your feelings and to think out of the box and be autonomous in your decisions. All these skills will help the children to navigate their way successfully through many of life’s social and personal situations.
The skills developed through the Trick Box programme aim to teach children to have an appreciation of equality, diversity, and justice by supporting them to:
Emotional well-being is very important and must obviously come first. The behaviour promoted through the Trick Box cards also supports children’s academic progress. The ideas behind the cards help children of all ages to develop a growth mind set, to take risks and find solutions rather than allowing setbacks to close down opportunities.
1 I can learn anything I want to.
2 When I’m frustrated, I persevere.
3 I like to challenge myself.
4 When I fail, I learn.
5 I like being told that I try hard.
6 If my classmates succeed, I’m inspired.
7 My effort and attitude determine everything.
1 I’m either good at it, or I’m not.
2 When I’m frustrated, I give up.
3 I don’t like to be challenged.
4 When I fail, I’m no good.
5 I like being told that I’m smart.
6 If my classmates succeed, I feel threatened.
7 My abilities determine everything.
Trick box is a box of 24 cards. The first 6 cards are used in Early Years and the next 6 in KS1.The remaining 12 cards are for KS2. The cards show a simple visual of a character, Drew, that is introduced in Early Years. Each of the cards fits into one of four key areas, known as the four C’s.The areas are:
There are goals within each of the 4 C’s
Trick Box outcomes are built around the positive life habits we all need to thrive.
Throughout their school journey, children develop self-coaching skills from their Trick Box to help them navigate through life. Teachers use these tricks in class.
The coaching model, Accept, Be, Choose and Do is used in any given situation where a child is up against a barrier or when things haven’t gone as expected they can choose a card and think through how they could manage the situation and bring about change or compromise. These skills need to be taught and given time to practise.
Trick Box begins in Early Years where the children are introduced to a simple character called Drew. Children develop life skills through engaging stories and extended activities which link to Early Learning Goals.
Each year group has their own timetable. The idea is that tricks can be practised from previous year groups and more added each year.
Tricks are initially taught in class by the teacher who holds up the big card which has cues on the back to help them understand what that particular trick is trying to achieve. The cards have been based on cognitive science and psychology, experts have condensed this into a simple visual format that children can understand and also put to practical use in their lives
To sum up Trick Box offers the personal skills we all need both to manage ourselves and take up positive life opportunities and thrive!