By JENNY OSKINS
Attachment and bonding is the foundation of the early education provided at Qualla Boundary Head Start and Early Head Start (QBHSEHS). The program goals are to provide supportive services to improve the quality of life for children and families, build school readiness and improve the wellness of students and families. These goals rely on the connection to students and connection to families.
To develop staff’s skills and abilities in attachment and bonding, QBHSEHS has embarked on a training investment to support trauma informed care and cultivate skills to achieve these outcomes. Most staff have been through a training called Resources for Resilience. Currently, we have hit a new milestone by having 40 staff from QBHSEHS complete the Circle of Security Parenting (COSP) courses, including two staff that are qualified to be facilitators.
Circle of Security Parenting is a program developed by Circle of Security International to promote secure attachment between children and their caregivers. One of the “founding principles that underlie the Circle of Security models” is that “secure attachment relationships with caregivers are a protective factor for infants and preschoolers, setting the foundation for social competence and promoting effective functioning of the emotion regulation and stress response systems” (COSP website). It is the intention of QBHSEHS to ensure staff are learning the skills needed to provide relationships that help students become secure in themselves and full of self-esteem.
Circle of Security Parenting describes their program as helping “caregivers to understand their child’s emotional world by learning to read emotional needs, support their child’s ability to successfully manage emotions, enhance the development of their child’s self esteem, and honor the innate wisdom and desire for their child to be secure.
COSP uses an eight-chapter video-based series. Designed for parents, the program works equally well for increasing childcare providers’ awareness of attachment. Provided by a Registered COSP Facilitator, the program offers carers an understanding of the reciprocal relationship between the attachment and exploratory systems; offers a roadmap to understand patterns of attachment; shifts the focus from ways to extinguish undesirable behaviors to seeing behavior as communication of a need; explores ways to respond sensitively to children’s cues; and offers insight to caregivers of ways to manage their own struggles around certain attachment needs”.
The staff whom completed the 8-week course are: Amanda Bradley, Emily Behm, Takisha Welch, Rebecca Erickson, Marjorie Winchester, Jessica Mitchell, Dellisa Swayney, Stephanie Catt, Candy Ross, Sutaga De los Reyes, Frances Long, Reneta Owle, Heather Saunooke, Brittany Welch, Joeanne Powell, Sharon Brown, Aliyah Bigmeat, Victoria Simon, Sherry Brendle, Elizabeth Moore, Shelly Ramirez, Annette Thomas, Mary Cagle, Ana Maney, Shakayla Smoker, Selena McCoy, Keisha Lambert, Jordan Maples, Kayla Bradley, Regina Parks, Olivia Blankenship, Natalie Tate, Voncile Harris, Felicia Sequoyah, Lacey Smith, Kip Thompson, Kelsey Jenkins, Carla Wolfe, Amanda Long, Christy Klieves, and Jennifer Oskins.