This year our Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum is a key focus.  Before lockdown 1, the PSHE Team survey outcome was that children needed support to articulate their emotions and feelings in more detail.  This focus led us to the work of Marc Brackett at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence in USA, and his book ‘Permission to Feel: Unlock the power of emotions to help yourself and your children thrive.’  The author’s message for everyone is that if we can learn to identify, express, and harness our feelings, even the most challenging ones, we can use those emotions to help us create positive, satisfying lives.

In addition to using carefully selected picture books for our social and emotional learning strand on relationships this half term (see curriculum newsletters on Class Pages for more information), we are developing the use of Marc Brackett’s RULER evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning, building the skills of emotional intelligence, and creating and  maintaining a positive school climate.

Recognising emotions in yourself and others.
Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions.
Labelling emotions accurately – if you can name it you can tame it.
Expressing emotions appropriately.
Regulating emotions effectively.


The children are taught these skills through a series of tools, known as anchor tools. One tool is the Mood Meter (above).  The horizontal axis represents the degree of pleasantness, from very unpleasant to very pleasant. The vertical axis represents the degree of energy, from very low to very high.  It’s so important to give children a wide emotional vocabulary, the time and space to listen and reflect on how they feel and help them move to a more positive set of feelings when sadness, frustration, anger, loneliness, grief are experienced.  This work links to each class’s charter, agreement about how pupils want to feel as part of their classroom life, encouraging personal and social responsibility and working together towards creating the kind of emotional climate that everyone wants.

Taking Care Protective Behaviours Curriculum

Acorns Primary School is one of over 200 schools in Warwickshire who are incorporating this preventive child safety curriculum as part of their PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) provision across all year groups.  It is our twelfth academic year of using the Taking Care materials and it is used widely in other parts of the United Kingdom and also in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

Established in 1999 by a variety of agencies in Warwickshire and led by Ann Seal at Warwickshire Local Authority,  Protective Behaviours is a safety awareness and resilience building curriculum which helps children and adults to recognise any situation where they feel worried or unsafe, such as feeling stressed, bullied or threatened and explores practical ways to keep safe. Protective Behaviours also looks at identifying support networks for times when we need someone to listen and help.

Protective Behaviours  is based on two key messages:
▪    We all have the right to feel safe all of the time
▪    We can talk with someone about anything, even if it feels awful or small.

Protective Behaviours is a practical down to earth approach to personal safety and mental health. It is a process that encourages self-empowerment and brings with it the skills to raise self-esteem and to help avoid being victimised. This is achieved by helping individuals to recognise and trust their intuitive feelings (Early Warning Signs) and to develop strategies for self-protection.

There are separate programmes of learning for all year groups so that lessons are not repeated and more importantly, content is appropriate to the age and maturity of the children.  All classes will be taking part in one “Taking Care” lesson each week for 4 weeks (2 before October half-term, 2 after October half-term).  Please do ask your children about what they are doing and have discussions with them about all aspects of safety – your interest and encouragement will make a big difference to their learning.