At Ashleigh, our PSHE curriculum is founded on our Guiding Stars. One way in which we teach children about these characteristics is through PATHS lessons and assemblies in EYFS and KS1. The PATHS programme 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 2011. We have been a hub school and we have achieved model status. PATHS is part of the ethos of our school, it 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, families 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 cards so they can show and talk about who they are feeling. These may be of some use at home too, so there are a set of feeling cards here that can be printed off (comfortable and uncomfortable).


Building children’s self-esteem is key to PATHS, so every day in each class there is a star or 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. A compliment is then also encouraged from home. The compliments from home are shared with the class and will then go into a special book in class.

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. (Mini versions of these are available to print off).