In Germany alone about 200.000 children per year experience the separation of their parents. Most of them visit kindergarten or school, so that kindergarten and school teachers potentially play a significant and preventive role in supporting these children, who are dealing with the burden caused by the separation of their parents. During the acute phase of their separation, many parents tend to trivialize the consequences that a separation may have on their children, in order to flee from their own feelings of guilt and shame. They temporarily lose their competence in educating their children, sometimes rendering kindergarten and school teachers as the only close adults, even attachment figures, able to encounter the child’s pain in a sensitive and responsive way. Attachment theory provides low threshold strategies of intervention that strengthen both the children and the teachers. To this date, support and counseling in dealing with the circumstances of these children and their parents is lacking.
Based on numerous interviews with kindergarten and school teachers, an appropriate and sensitive method of helping children and their parents reduce feelings of guilt, shame and powerlessness, and strengthen self-worth and self-efficacy will be discussed. The children need to feel accepted exactly as they are, so that they feel secure and protected. An important aspect in handling the whole process in a reasonable way is the teacher’s willingness to confront themselves with their own attachment-experiences, as these may influence their relationship to the children and their parents.
Claus Koch, Ph.D., studied philosophy and psychology in Heidelberg and Paris.
In his scientific work he deals with child development based on psychoanalysis and attachment theory. He holds a lectureship at the University of Bielefeld. 2015 he founded the “Pädagogisches Institut Berlin” that, through various projects, supports kindergarten and school teachers in their daily work. (The institutes?) Long-term goal will be the development of a concept of education based on attachment theory and a “pedagogy of relationship”, and also to handle problems with challenging children and youths in kindergarten and school.