So why is early attachments important?
Recent views from people have suggested that children moving rooms in nurseries and gaining new key workers on a regular basis could cause the child to have some difficulties in their Social and Emotional development.
The key worker system was put into place in nurseries and made an important aspect of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) after research into the importance of early attachments was completed. This research suggested that early attachments are crucial in a child’s early development and wellbeing. These attachments need to be made in order for a child to feel happy, secure and confident, all of which are needed for children to be motivated and active learners.
The attachment research suggests that there is a critical period in which secure attachments need to be gained and maintained which is in the first two to three years of life. If these attachments do not happen or are broken it may lead to a number of emotional and intellectual problems.
After this research nurseries began operating a key worker system so that during their time away from parents and main care givers children were able to build secure attachments and thrive in their development. It is common practice in early year’s settings for a child to be based in a room depending on their age and then to move rooms as they get older. Once a child reaches the age of three they may have moved rooms, during these transitions they will have had various key worker to build a relationship with.
More recent beliefs are that these attachments with key workers during nursery hours should also not be broken whilst the child is under three as it could lead to negative feelings and cause problems in the child’s development.
It has been suggested that nurseries should take a ‘no wall’ approach to children’s early development, so rather then moving rooms a child is always with the same key worker. This would ensure the child has a strong attachment that remains undamaged during the critical period in their development. Where this is not possible it could be recommended that a key worker could move rooms with their key group again ensuring the attachment remains strong and unbroken.
What do you think that the key worker system is working in nurseries or could it be improved further?
Do you have any first hand experience in the key working system being successful in nurseries or where it has failed?
Please leave your comments and suggestions below as we are always wanting to hear what our readers are thinking especially on topics like importance of early attachments.