I am dismayed to read (2 March 01 "Seventies nurture groups return") that researchers at Cambridge University support the re-introduction of nurture groups. A far superior process exists and is already widely practised. In circle time, all children can appreciate their own uniqueness and participate in activities which acknowledge the positive qualities of others in the group. Children who who have previously acted in an aggressive or passive manner quickly begin to see the advantages of assertiveness and are encouraged by the benefits this brings.
Bullying stops when the bully understands the reasons for his behaviour. Victims learn how to deal with difficult situations. Peer pressure becomes group support. Where harmony reigns, learning flourishes. All the advantages of the group dynamic are lost in withdrawal groups, which are unpopular with children. The ratio of 12 children with two adults is not one that many schools can afford, whereas a skilled teacher can conduct circle time alone successfully. Circle times are not called magic circles for nothing. A daily dose does wonders in helping pupils be happy, creative and responsible. A full explanation of the benefits of circle time can be seen on my website at: www.appleonline.netmurraywhite Murray White UK Representative, International Council for Self-Esteem 5 Ferry Path Cambridge CB4 1HB