01743 821 824


Attachment and Trauma – Advanced (Jenny Jones, Inspired Foundations, Jan 2015)

A summary of my learning in a format for sharing with parents and teachers:


Rationale / Example

Give low key praise – e.g. thumbs up with big smile, sticker to put in bag / on sheet rather than on self, certificate posted home instead of given in assembly

Often have poor self self esteem so praise can result in a conflict between ‘how I feel about me’ & ‘what you are telling’ me – child will engage in poor behaviour to resolve this internal conflict

Understand the ‘whole child’ – meet with parents regularly

Child may ‘hold it together’ at school then show full emotions at home

See the behaviour as communication

… but know that this is their strategy and they will resist you trying to change it.

‘Notice’ and ‘wonder out loud’ about behaviours

e.g. “I’ve noticed that you… I wonder if” – empathetic listening

Warn child if about to raise voice within class

Child may have witnessed domestic violence and ‘loud’ may trigger stress response

Be clear in communication (“stop being silly” may not mean anything)

Instead of ‘calm down’ which child may not know how to do, give guidance: “sit on a chair, take deep breaths and feel your heart slow down”

Acknowledge their hurt even if it seems unreasonable

Else you ‘rubbish’ how they feel confirming negative self belief

Find a manner that does not induce shame

Toxic shame prevents the child moving through the natural stage of guilt followed by reparation – often need a few minutes longer to get to this stage

Understand that simply being in school can induce anxiety

Variety of reasons to include separation from parents & a difficulty picking up on non-verbal rules

Think ‘younger’ – emotional age will usually be below chronological age

But see it as an opportunity to address gaps in ‘foundations’

Encourage social-emotional development through e.g. –

  • Circle time
  • Social groups
  • Circle of friends
  • Supported break times

  • Home school diary

  • ‘Proud’ book – for child to ‘own’

Usually struggle with unstructured times; may not ‘read’ the rules of simple playground games

To inform of significant events that may have repercussions in other setting (e.g. told off at school angry / upset at home or vice versa)

To put in good work / news from home and school – this must carry in next class as affects self-worth

Emotionally focused programmes:

Nurture; peer massage; forest school, SEAL

For developmental ‘catch-up’

Identify times when additional support may be needed:

school trips; class assemblies / plays;

transitions; residentials

As anxiety levels will be higher than for typical children

Rules may need to be more flexible

Give simplified ‘bite sized’ tasks e.g. first task – date; next – title

To give child the experience of task completion

Visual timetable / reminders to include breaks and home time

To reduce anxiety and re-assure re home time

Fidget toys / stress balls etc

To assist sensory / emotional regulation

Key adult (very significant factor) at key times: meet & greet, after break, before lunch (“I’ve checked there’s plenty of food”); end of school. “Must be consistent else will increase anxiety. If absent, ensure a ‘back-up’ adult can say “Mrs… asked me …..”

An attachment figure reduces stress and so the need for inappropriate attention needing behaviour. May ‘cost’ up to 15 minutes of staff time a day but will save time that is being spent in addressing behaviour

Time out replaced by time in (“you look like you need to be closer to me to concentrate just now…”)

Else sends the message of “you’re not good enough to be near me” which reinforces negative self concept

Back to Course Reviews >