At Thorpe Primary School, we use the Connect Curriculum when delivering PSHE lessons.

Over the past two years a group of academic, educational and clinical psychologists, and teachers in Bristol UK have been working to develop a primary school PSHE curriculum based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is a mindfulness-based approach to wellbeing that focuses on psychological flexibility (being willing to experience all thoughts and feelings, even the unwanted ones, whilst still moving in the direction of one’s values). An exciting and developmentally sensitive ACT model for children has recently emerged, which we have chosen to form the spine of the Connect curriculum. Its name is DNA-V, and this model provides teachers and children a way of talking about thoughts, feelings and behaviour that positively impacts wellbeing.

There are three further aspects to our story that set us apart. Firstly, we have avoided the traditional themes associated with other PSHE curriculum and have instead used the scientific literature to guide us. Specifically, psychologically healthy people tend engage in six behaviours (connecting with others, challenging oneself, giving to others, exercising, embracing the moment and self-care). These six behaviours form the themes in our curriculum. In other words, over time we want children to get better at doing those things.

Connect is based on a model called DNA-V, which stand for four skills – Discoverer, Noticer, Advisor and Values.

Research shows that children’s emotional resilience improves when they learn these key skills. DNA-V exercises help children learn to use these skills in relation to how they see themselves and the social world.

Connect Curriculum Overview


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