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Final Report of the Learning Together about Making Choices Project

Moscardini, Lio and Baldry, Heather and Whitters, Hazel (2016) Final Report of the Learning Together about Making Choices Project. [Report]

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Abstract

The children at the centre of this project endure highly adverse social and economic circumstances including the despair of living with parental substance abuse and addiction. They are most likely to have been denied the experience of learning how to build a warm, trusting, and reliable relationship with any adult, including their parents. They have rarely if ever had the security of knowing what it is to come first in any adult’s life and they have depended on instinctive survivalist behaviours to keep themselves in perceived safety. The resulting unacceptable and/or inappropriate behaviours lock them out of the benefits of their years in primary school and ‘hide in plain sight’ their chronic distress and need for help. Traditional behaviour management responses from teachers regularly exacerbate their distrust of adults and ensure their likely continued exclusion. This project was not a survey-style snapshot but an iterative developmental process over three years, based in an ongoing interaction between the project team and teaching staff. The aim was to develop and sustain an inclusive model of support for young children disadvantaged by the impact of unmet attachment needs. The purpose was to focus on the provision of a secure base for learning that would endure through the primary school years.