At Garvestone , we teach the PATHS programme which helps children to identify and manage their own feelings and gives them a strong grounding in emotional literacy and self-control.

We have been teaching PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) since 2018. PATHS forms part of the PSHE curriculum as well as covering some of the British Values.

What is PATHS?

PATHS is a programme of lessons and strategies that helps children manage their emotions, communicate effectively and problem solve independently.

It takes a holistic approach to include all children and staff are involved.

PATHS is a research based programme grounded in the science of children’s brain development. It uses progressive schemes of work, engaging resources and diverse activities to establish a positive classroom.


PATHS helps children with…

  • Self-esteem, self-confidence and self-control
  • Frustration & anger management
  • Attention and concentration
  • Thinking before they act out in anger
  • Emotional understanding
  • Expressing their feelings in a positive way
  • Understanding that all feelings are okay, but some behaviours are not ok
  • Preparing for change


PATHS works around 3 key features


The children are taught how to recognise different feelings, what it feels like to be happy, frustrated or sad etc. They are also taught what it might look like for other people. Feelings are described as comfortable or uncomfortable but all feelings are ok. e.g. It’s ok to feel upset or angry it’s how we then deal with these feelings. The children will build up a set of feeling through floor books so they can show and talk about who they are feeling.



Building children’s self-esteem is key to PATHS, so every day in each class there is a star of the day (this may be called something slightly different in each class). The child will do special tasks throughout the day but most importantly be given compliments that are then recorded and sent home.

Problem solving

PATHS is about feelings, understanding our own and others. That is OK to feel sad or angry but it’s not OK to hit because of it. PATHS offers strategies to deal with problems that arise. In Reception and Year 1 this is through Twiggle (a little turtle), year 2 upwards use traffic lights.