There is increasing recognition of the need for schools and other education settings to support young people’s mental health and well-being. Becoming an ‘Attachment Aware School’ builds a sound practical and theoretical base for an approach to addressing the mental health and well-being of the whole school or setting community.
Attachment theory explains how children build an internal working model of themselves and the world through relationships.
Advances in neuroscience support this understanding of brain development as relationally driven: the brain is pattern seeking and survival oriented, with neural pathways built from birth through relationships and profoundly affected by neglect and abuse.
In enabling young people’s learning, we are working with the most complex system in the universe. It is important that adults working with developing brains understand something of how they work and their vulnerability.
Too many children do not have the attachment relationships they need and many also suffer the effects of toxic stress as a result of neglect and abuse. Where children have had traumatic experiences, adults can do a lot to help children recover and build resilience. Attachment aware settings are committed to developing their practical understanding of these issues.
There are many approaches to addressing mental health and well-being. Some focus on diagnostics and individual interventions. Individuals may at different times need specific individual support, but these approaches are unlikely to work without a safe, secure environment. An Attachment Aware approach recognises everyone’s mental health, well-being and attachment needs and aims to build an environment that benefits everyone’s learning. Where additional support is needed, this is an environment in which children get consistent support form adults before, during and after interventions, maximising their impact.
How do you become an attachment aware setting? The ARC pathway is based on the experience of 100s of schools and settings and the professionals working with them. It is designed to help you to consider where you are now and look at what you may do next to develop and embed your attachment aware practice.
Take a look at the ARC pathway and how ARC membership will help you on your attachment aware journey.