The Importance of Attachment

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Attachment means a whole lot to small children. The first and the most important attachment relationship is formed with the child's parent.

When the child grows up, also other important adults come into the child's life - for example educators. Therefore attachment is also a very important aspect to take care of in early childhood education.

If children feel safe and nurtured, it affects their overall well-being positively. Providing children with affection is a prerequisite for the healthy development of the brain, self-confidence, and the ability to form relationships in life.

In early childhood education, the stability of staff is very important when creating early attachment with children. Also, a calm, predictable, and regular daily schedule helps children feel safe.

The Circle of Security

The Circle of Security is a visual map of attachment. The “father” of the attachment theory is John Bowlby.

"Intimate attachments to other human beings are the hub around which a person's life revolves, not only as an infant or a toddler or a schoolchild but throughout adolescence and years of maturity as well, and on into old age. From these intimate attachments a person draws strength and enjoyment of life and, through what he contributes, gives strength and enjoyment to others. These are matters about which current science and traditional wisdom are at one."

Bowlby, J. (1980) Attachment and Loss: Volume 1. Attachment. Basic Books: New York.

Figure 1: The Circle of Security for the toddler and preschool years.

The Circle of Security explains in the picture how parents, caregivers, or educators should support a child's attachment. Adults need to support children when they explore the world. Adults need to watch over children, delight children, and help them. It is also important to do things that both child and adult enjoy doing together. When a child needs it, the adult must be there. In case something goes wrong adult has an important role of protecting, comforting, delighting, and organizing the child's feelings. All of these aspects function both in parenthood and in early childhood education.

Happy and secure learning!


UNICEF. What you need to know about parent-child attachment.

CIRCLE OF SECURITY. What is the circle of security?