Implementation of attachment theory into early childhood settings

Natalia Shirvanian, Tony Michael


Because numerous studies show that early child-adult attachment significantly affects a child’s socio-emotional and cognitive development, we propose that establishing attachment-based child care can contribute to a healthy and happy childhood. This proposition is part of a new theoretical and experimental field and, thus, research is limited. There is a lack of clarity in definition, criteria, and common terminology of this type of child care. By synthesizing the literature around the attachment-based interventions in early child care centres, this review provides a conceptualization of attachment-based child care. Based on research findings, major components of this type of child care are: training for caregivers on attachment theory and sensitivity; employment of an appropriate policy, such as the appointment of a key person; a small child-adult ratio; and collaboration with parents that includes education about secure attachment and sensitivity.


child attachment; primary caregiving; sensitivity; emotional availability; child-caregiver

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