Exploring the Impact of Nurture Groups on Children’s Social Skills: A Mixed-Methods Approach.

Authors: Larissa Cunningham, Brettany K Hartwell & Jana Kreppner
Published: 2019
Publication: Educational Psychology in Practice

Nurture Groups (NGs) are a short-term, psychotherapeutic intervention aiming to provide reparative attachment experiences for children within an educational setting (Boxall, 2002). The social skills of 16 children (aged between 6.0 and 9.75 years) were assessed through teacher ratings and children’s self-report to hypothetical and challenging social situations. Thematic analysis was also used to explore six children’s experiences and perceptions of NG intervention on their social skills. Over time, children attending NGs used significantly more socially appropriate responses. Teachers’ ratings of children’s social skills also improved, approaching statistical significance. In their interviews, children suggested that they enjoyed attending NGs and that this helped them improve their social skills. However, they reported challenges engaging with peers outside of the NG, particularly in the playground. Implications for practice include the need to identify how practitioners can help to facilitate the generalisation of children’s developing social skills beyond the NG context.

Cunningham, L., Hartwell, B. K. & Kreppner, J. (2019) Exploring the Impact of Nurture Groups on Children’s Social Skills: A Mixed-Methods Approach. Educational Psychology in Practice, DOI: 10.1080/02667363.2019.1615868

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