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Providing a secure base & a safe haven

Find out about the theory and see what it looks like in practice.

This course session covers:

  • Why children need a secure base and a safe haven
  • What these behaviours looks like in practice
  • How this can be provided for children in a nursery or setting
Length of session: The session should take between 30 to 40 minutes You will need: Each participant will need a pen and a note book or a printed copy of the Session 1.4 Providing a secure base & a safe haven task sheet - Available in the downloads section
00:10
So how do we use attachment theory
00:12
to help us to become an effective key person?
00:15
John Bowlby, who was a pioneer of attachment theory,
00:19
describes four distinguishing characteristics of attachment.
00:23
Children need a secure base to explore from.
00:26
A safe haven to return to and recharge if they need to.
00:30
They'll use proximity maintenance
00:32
to stay placed to their attachment figure,
00:34
and they're likely to get distressed
00:36
if they're separated from them.
00:39
Let's look at these first two characteristics
00:42
of attachment in more detail.
00:45
The idea of a secure base,
00:47
is when the child's attachment figure or key person
00:49
is available and provides a strong sense of security.
00:56
They feel able to explore
00:58
their environment and relationships,
00:60
trusting that their attachment person
01:01
will support them if they need it.
01:07
This helps them to develop confidence and feel secure,
01:11
so they can start to be adventurous
01:12
and explore further away,
01:14
stretching what they're capable of,
01:16
and beginning to take risks,
01:18
developing their independence.
01:22
In the nursery setting,
01:24
the key person provides the secure base,
01:26
which allows the child to feel secure
01:28
and cared for while they explore their surroundings.
01:33
While the child explores their environment
01:35
and relationships with other people,
01:37
there'll be times when they need reassurance
01:39
and perhaps comforting.
01:43
When something goes wrong,
01:45
or they feel anxious or upset,
01:47
they'll return to their safe haven,
01:49
their attachment figure.
02:02
Once they're feeling recharged and secure,
02:04
they can move away and begin exploring again.
02:10
By being able to be dependent on their attachment figure,
02:13
and use them as a safe haven and a secure base,
02:20
the child can begin to develop independence.
02:22
Peter Elfer suggests that,
02:25
there's a subtle skillful balance to be made
02:27
between helping a child have the confidence
02:30
to be adventurous and stretch their capacities,
02:33
from a secure base with their key person,
02:34
and trying to force the child
02:36
by not allowing him to have a secure base

Downloads

Task sheet - key person approach - session 1.4 Download
Facilitators guide - key person approach - session 1.4 Download