Understanding the nervous system, responses to trauma and COVID 19.

The mainstay of my approach in Therapeutic Teaching lies in an understanding of Polyvagal Theory. Seeing the positive outcomes of The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), with the individuals I work with, is perhaps the most rewarding part of my work during these challenging times. It warms my heart to see the changes in a person’s quality of life through this therapeutic intervention. It’s not just about listening, it’s the connection in relationship that comes with the process that enables significant changes to take place. The SSP was developed in response to the Polyvagal Theory and the insights it has given us to the science involved in feeling safe.

This video recently released by The Polyvagal Institute explains the Autonomic Nervous System in such a way to give us all a clear understanding about how, by knowing our nervous system, we can better navigate the world feeling safer. This video refers to our responses to trauma and in the light of COVID, we could all benefit from learning about how social connection is so important to support our wellbeing, while recognising why this might also be something we are wary of during this time. It may cause you to reflect on any mixed feelings we can have about connecting socially but also provides us with the insight to manage our detection of threat so we can better assess safety in social connection.

If you are interested in learning more about how The Safe and Sound Protocol can help you feel safer go to my home page.

Early Years Mental Health Conference

June 10th 2021 hosted by Essex County Council
Me, You, Us – Understanding emotional dynamics in the Early Years setting
Central to the mental wellbeing of the young child in the early years setting is safety in the relationships the child forms with early years practitioners.
I am presenting the keynote address that explores:

  • the role of the key person as a secondary attachment figure,
  • the impact of a child’s insecure attachment profile on their ability to relate to adults
  • and the subsequent impact on the Early Years practitioner’s mental and physical wellbeing.

The workshop that follows considers an assessment checklist that corresponds to the Early Adopter ELGs.

Download my flyer and find assorted free resource here . Book your place on this conference here.

‘Their challenges are our challenges’ – a must read…

A new survey by the Anna Freud Centre has revealed that a high proportion of nursery workers have experienced working with children facing extremely complex backgrounds and challenging emotional and behavioural needs. Many admitted that they had found these needs difficult to manage. Read the report here.


Winter warmers

In the last post we considered how quiet and stillness helps us savour the ‘hygge’ in our settings in winter. What about the children who struggle to relax? We reviewed the power of soft voices with easily-dysregulated children.

Let’s think about how movement helps to regulate the breath, which in turn regulates heart rate and the nervous system ‘brake’.  When you get the children really moving, so they start to puff and pant, as they stop and slow down, notice which children need longer to settle.

These children have lower ‘regulation fitness’ and need structured, regulating, movement often throughout their session.

Integrating movements to music can add to the fun and increase motivation, develop language skills through rhyming songs and support sensory integration.

How closely do we plan our input to our children’s sensory developmental profile? You might find this checklist and activities helpful.  

Find out more about helping children self-regulate through movement:  Early Years Mental Health training – a video, useful links and free resources are here.