Last Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Compassionate and Connected Classroom: A health and wellbeing curricular resource for upper primary

What is this?

​​​‘The Compassionate and Connected Classroom’ is part of a wider set of resources entitled ‘The Compassionate and Connected Classroom and Community’ which consists of a curricular and professional learning resource. This suite of resources aims to raise awareness of the potential impact of adversity and trauma in shaping outcomes for children and young people and provide support that can help mitigate the impact of these experiences.

Who is this for?

​This resource is specifically intended practitioners who are teaching at the upper primary stages but could also be useful for those who are teaching at mid primary stages or early secondary. It is also aimed at senior leaders to ensure that the resource is implemented and supported effectively.​


This curricular resource is designed to specifically build teacher confidence and support the emotional and mental wellbeing of children in upper primary.

It aims to support children:

  • to understand that experiencing adversity and trauma can happen to anyone;
  • to understand the possible impact of adversity and trauma on their wellbeing;
  • to develop compassion, empathy and tolerance in their relationships with others;​​
  • to understand that they have the right to be protected and supported by the adults in their lives;


  • to provide them with strategies and personal coping skills to help them deal with challenge and develop resilience.

It will also support adults to:

  • recognise the importance of positive, nurturing relationships in protecting children from the impact of adversity and trauma.

​Improvement questions

This resource will help schools to deliver the health and wellbeing (HWB) curriculum. While implementing it, it would be helpful to consider the following:

  • To what extent do we have a positive culture and ethos in our school that embraces the principles of nurture, recognises the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and supports positive relationships?
  • How aware are staff of safeguarding processes and do they have the skills to support children who might disclose as part of the discussions within this resource?
  • Has there been sufficient professional learning to support staff’s own understanding of adversity and trauma?
  • Are we able to support all staff to have an awareness of the resource so that they will be in a position to support the children through it?​


Scottish education has a clear focus on wellbeing and relationship-based approaches to support children and young people which is influenced by the UNCRC. An understanding of how early experiences impact on children and young people’s social and emotional development and the importance of relationships in shaping later outcomes is the foundation which underpins much of Scottish policy.

Getting in Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) recognises that children and young people have different experiences in their lives, but that every child and young person has the right to expect adults to allow them to grow and develop and reach their full potential. Approaches such as nurture and trauma informed practice and an awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences have helped to support children’s wellbeing in schools, while public health approaches such as those focused on reducing violence and supporting positive mental health also emphasise the need for prevention and early intervention. Teaching children at the primary stages about the impact of adversity and trauma and helping them to develop empathy and support for others along with coping skills is therefore an effective means of taking forward these priorities.

The resulting curricular resource has been developed to ​support all children to cope with challenges and adversity and develop their confidence, resilience, compassion and empathy for others. Whilst there is a growing body of professional learning resources to support professionals' understanding of adversity and trauma, it was recognized that alongside this should be a curricular resource to help the understanding of the impact of adversity and trauma on children and young people.


This resource is intended to be delivered as part of the health and wellbeing curriculum by a class teacher but it is important that it is implemented in the context of a positive school culture and ethos which is built on positive relationships. Senior managers will require to study the resource and ensure all staff are aware of it before supporting its delivery in the classroom. As there are aspects of the resource that support children to become more aware of the impact of adversity and trauma, it is particularly important that schools take account of their safeguarding processes when considering how it should be implemented.

Explore this resource​​

The resource has a number of sections including:

  • Introduction and guidance on the use of the resource
  • Theme 1 – My rights
  • Theme 2 – Me and my life
  • Theme 3 – My relationships
  • Theme 4 – How I think, feel and behave
  • Theme 5 – Building our resilience together
  • Additional resources

The resource can be downloaded as an entire PD​F document which contains all of the above. However, in order to support implementation and delivery, a number of separate word files are also available to download. These include:

  • Each of the additional resources such as the introductory presentation; parent leaflet; personal journals; evaluation measures; emotional check-ins and relaxation activities
  • Theme 1 Lesson and facilitator resources
  • Theme 2 Lesson and facilitator resources
  • Theme 3 Lesson and facilitator resources
  • Theme 4 Lesson and facilitator resources
  • Theme 5 Lesson and facilitator resources


PDF file: The Compassionate and Connected Classroom curricular resource (Large file - 14 MB)

Theme 1 Lesson and facilitator resources folder​

Zipped file: Theme 1 - Lesson and facilitator reso​u​rces (4.7 MB)

  • LR 1.2 – Getting it right for every child wellbeing wheel
  • LR 1.3 - Wants, needs and rights PowerPoint presentation
  • FR 1.4 – UNCRC: Information for facilitators
  • LR 1.4 – Child-friendly article cards

Theme 2 Lesson and facilitator resources folder

Zipped file: Theme 2 - Lesson and facilitator resources (119 KB)​

  • FR 1.2 – Cross the line cards
  • FR 2.2 – Anthony Joshua
  • FR 2.2a – Malala Yousafzai
  • FR 2.3 – Case study – Jack
  • LR 2.3 – Experience cards

Theme 3 Lesson and facilitator resources folder

Zipped file: Theme 3 - Lesson and facilitator resources (158 KB​)​

  • LR 3.1b – Empathy guide
  • LR 3.1c – Scenario cards
  • LR 3.4 – Problem scenario cards

Theme 4 Lesson and facilitator resources folder

Zipped file: Theme 4 - Lesson and facilitator resources (120 KB​)​

  • LR 4.1a – Reaction scale
  • LR 4.1b – Body outline
  • FR 4.2 – Stresses and challenges – exemplars
  • LR 4.2a – Responding to stresses and challenges
  • LR 4.2b – Scenario cards
  • LR 4.4b – I need statements

Theme 5 Lesson and facilitator resources folder

Zipped file: Theme 2 - Lesson and facilitator resources (35 KB​)​​

  • ​LR5.1 – What works for me sheet

​Additional resources

Zipped file: Additional resources (5.4 MB​)​

  • Introductory presentation
  • ​Parent leaflet
  • Supporting information for parents
  • Teacher proforma for planning​
  • Children’s reflective proforma
  • Baseline for children’s skills, knowledge and confidence
  • Baseline for teacher’s skills, knowledge and confidence
  • Personal Journals
  • Emotional check-ins
  • Relaxation activities
  • ​Listening and responding to children
  • Glossary