Connection and Attachment in Early Childhood Education

Ms. Lisa, Mr. Lee, Ms. Alexica, Ms. Jas, Ms. Naaz, and Ms. Melissa all had roles to play in the kindergarten this week! Those of us who don't usually spend time in there enjoyed getting to know these special little people better. 

Knowing and loving every child in our school is a fundamental part of the teaching experience at The Garden School. When we speak and act out of love, we are building the world we dream of. When children understand to their very core that they are cherished and accepted, they are able to engage vigorously with the task of learning, trusting that they will be safe in exploring their physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and artistic capacities. 

Research abounds on the long-term importance for young children of developing loving, attached relationships with adults. Learning how to build and maintain a positive and supportive relationship has a limited window in early childhood. There are many resources available on this topic, and we like to remember this summary from Tim Moore at the International Society for Early Intervention:

  1. Relationships matter. There is strong evidence that relationships of all types have a significant impact on the development and well-being of those involved.
  2. Relationships affect other relationships. Parallel processes operate at all levels of the chain of relationships and services, so that our capacity to relate to others is supported or undermined by the quality of our own support relationships.
  3. Relationships form a cascade of parallel processes. Relationships form a cascade of parallel processes from governments and societies through to parents and children.
  4. Effective relationships at all levels share common characteristics. There are nine key characteristics: attunement / engagement, responsiveness, clear communication, managing communication breakdowns, emotional openness, understanding one’s own feelings, empowerment and strengthbuilding, moderate stress / challenges, and building coherent narratives.