Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten believes that children do best when their personal, social and emotional needs are met. This happens when adults put the relationship with the child first, prioritise empathy, compassion and trust, view them as competent human beings, and value them for who they are. Through a mutually respectful environment, children learn to respect themselves, other people and their surroundings.

Policy Statement

Children do well when they can.

We believe that all children are doing the best that they can in any given moment. When they are in a state of flow and regulation, and their needs are met, they will need less support. When children become dysregulated and in need of coregulation from an adult, and have other unmet needs, they will express these needs behaviourally.

We will view all behaviour as a form of communication which needs to be listened to, acknowledged and responded to in a supportive manner – even if the behaviour is inappropriate or unacceptable, such as when a child is feeling angry or upset. We will 'go upstream' to consider what is underlying any challenging behaviour, and focus on meeting the unmet need(s), rather than simply stopping or changing the behaviour.

We are aware that children who are struggling to behave appropriately are having a difficult time, and need us to help them. We focus on co-regulation and creating an environment where children can effectively self regulate.

We will also keep in mind that children are learning, and that social and emotional struggles are a normal part of development, essential for learning, and to be welcomed.

During children’s early years they are learning about which behaviours are appropriate and which are not. This process takes time as the way that the brain develops means that very young children lack impulse control, and are natually egocentric. It is therefore developmentally appropriate for young children to struggle to inhibit inappropriate behaviours, meaning that empathy and sensitive, calm support from an adult is essential.

Part of the adult's role is to communicate and hold clear limits in order to ensure that everyone is safe, and to provide a secure emotional context. Within kindergarten we aim to set these limits calmly, clearly and consistently. In doing so, we aim to enable children to feel safe enough to express and work through their feelings authentically, so that they do not fear their emotions but instead trust in their own ability to work through their challenges. We encourage and model appropriate behaviours and respectfully offer intervention and support when children struggle with conflict and overwhelming emotions.

It is important to us that we support each child in developing self esteem, confidence and feelings of competence. We value each child’s perspective, and restrictions on the child's natural desire to explore and develop their own ideas and concepts are kept to an absolute minimum.

Procedure and Practice

We recognise that the way that we view and interact with children has a significant impact on how the child will feel and respond. We focus on empathy, on reframing to see things from the child's perspective, and being calm, confident leaders.

We are aware that children manage their emotions by coregulating with an adult, and can only do this when the adult is in a state of emotional regulation. We, as adults, have a responsibility to remain in control of our emotions when children are having a hard time. We should not expect children to behave better than we are, or to regulate us.

We recognise that children are people, first and foremost, and should be treated with the same respect that we would show other adults. We prioritise the relationship, ensuring children feel valued and respected, as this is the lens through which all other experiences are seen.

We recognise that each child will have their own individual needs and appropriate support will look different both for different children, and for the same child across different situations or contexts.

We support children in regulating their emotional state by listening and observing, connecting with them, acknowledging their perspective, modelling appropriate ways of managing emotional challenges, and managing our own emotions.

We encourage consideration for each other, our surroundings and property.

We communicate clearly that physical aggression, and actions and words which are not respectful or kind, are not appropriate behaviour, and prevent these behaviours where possible. We do so without shaming or punishing, as this prevents children from hearing what we're trying to say.

We refrain from overtalking when a child is in a state of dysregulation, and remember that they cannot learn anything from us when in these mental states. We may consider talking to older children about what happened when they are calm.

We do not ask young children why they did something, as they do not know.

We provide a Key Person system enabling staff to build a strong and positive relationship with children and their families

We work in partnership with parents and carers by keeping them regularly informed about their child’s expriences and behaviour. We work with parents to address unmet needs and recurring behavioural struggles.

We recognise that codes for interacting with other people vary between cultures and staff are required to be aware of, and respect, those used by members of the setting.

We encourage all staff working with the children to accept their responsibility for implementing the goals in the policy and to do this consistently.

We familiarise all new staff with the settings behaviour policy and its guidelines for behaviour.

Helen Reeve is the named person who has overall responsibility for issues concerning behaviour.


The named person will keep up to date with legislation and research and thinking on supporting children’s behaviour; access relevant sources of expertise on handling children's behaviour; attend regular external training events, and check that all staff have relevant in-service training on supporting children’s behaviour and promoting positive behaviour.


The Kindergarten has a Supporting Behavioural Expression Handbook available upon request. All policies and procedures are made available in an accessible electronic format to all families on roll at Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten.