It is clear that if we are going to effectively support all children in school we need to understand the power of relationships and the impact of adverse childhood experiences on development. We need to understand what their difficulties and behaviour is telling us about what they need. Studying the features of a secure relationship and the factors which promote social and emotional wellbeing, helps us to understand what we must provide for children if we are to enable them to succeed.
The approach draws together research from several areas of psychology, biology and education. We started by thinking about the needs of the child in school and applying the theory and research which we felt would be most helpful for them. The theoretical underpinnings come from the areas of neuroscience, attachment and connection, resiliency, solution focused coaching, restorative approaches and cognitive science. We have drawn on the expertise of therapists and educational practitioners, our own experience and the views and voices of the children we have worked with to develop a holistic model of support. The relationship is central.
We see Relational Learning as both a universal approach as well as a targetted approach for those who are most in need and require more intensive support. We emphasise the importance of relational skills and the need to be reflective about how we are with children, as well as what we do. We aim to turn sometimes complex theory into practical approaches that can make a difference.
Relational Learning aims to develop a belief in and understanding of how schools can support all children through individual relationships, classroom practice, and policy which supports practice systems which are responsive to their needs.