Attachment refers to the active emotional bond that develops between a child and a primary parent or caregiver(s) which sets the pattern for our early social development (Bowlby and Ainsworth). It is a key foundation of emotional regulation and helping us understand how to care for ourselves and others as well as how to adapt and survive.
Why are healthy attachments so important for functioning and early development?
Early secure attachment with a main caregiver is important as it helps the developing child manage or ‘regulate’ their own emotional responses to situations. A securely attached child will tend to be able to navigate developmental stages in ways that promotes their positive mental and physical health, helps build resilience in coping with difficult situations and anxiety, helps build and maintain trusting intimate relationships, encourages a growing sense of security and confidence and supports .
What can teachers do to improve and support healthy attachments of the young people they support?
Research now overwhelmingly indicates that many emotional regulation issues and learning needs are interconnected. If a child is struggling with their school work it is important to consider both aspects. It may help to explore our sections on and for further information in this area.
3 top tips!
Consider emotional issues as well as cognitive if children are not be progressing as expected
Secure attachment with one caring adult is all it takes to make the difference in a child’s life
Establishing an attachment-like relationship with your pupils, particularly those who are challenging or vulnerable can enhance learning opportunities for all.