BEST4Learning was created in September 2014 by Julia Johnston & Vicky Lambert, who after many years of working with children in various areas in sport, art and education had seen how creative activities could have such an influential effect on children’s wellbeing.
BEST was initially set up to support those children who were socially and emotionally challenged. They began with a ‘before and after school’ club, in 3 West London schools working alongside groups of children to promote topics such as: self-awareness, friendship skills, improved communication and resilience through interactive and visual activities using sport art and drama. Intervention classes with key children were set up to focus on individual challenges.
The response from children, parents and teachers was so positive that Julia and Vicky realised that every child could and should benefit from their social and emotional skills programmes.
Whole class workshops were developed and the advantage of these enabled all children, teachers and teaching assistants to be working alongside the strategies that BEST provided.
The workshops were designed around the development of the child’s brain and subsequently became the focal point of all BEST programmes in both workshops and clubs. As a child’s brain grows at the most rapid rate between the ages of 0-10 years, teaching primary children how their brains work and how their thoughts affect their feelings and behaviour has proved to have a positive impact in both home and school.
Due to the enthusiasm shown from parents, BEST4Parents soon developed, with coffee mornings and evening workshops enabling parents to involve themselves in their children’s learning. Sharing with them the language that is used to promote ‘growth mind-set’, ‘clear and muddy rivers’, ‘shark fin’, enables them to carry their skills further into their home environment and therefore creating a good home / school balance of learning and discipline.
BEST continues to grow. Creating programmes, through the change and growth of the adolescent brain, that reach out to those young teenagers both in Secondary schools and within the community, needing support in areas of their development such as: emotional intelligence, resilience, fixed vs growth-mindset and self-esteem.