Children and young people in foster care have often had years of complex childhood trauma which impacts their relationships, thoughts, feelings, beliefs and decisions on a daily basis and it can often manifest itself in the form of difficult behaviour.
The Teaching Positive Connections approach acknowledges that there is always a feeling behind every difficult behaviour a child displays, and that our role as adults is to help guide and teach children to understand this, rather than telling them off and punishing them for struggling. Leading with connection rather than disconnection
Our aim is to help raise standards in a solution focused way and help everyone to feel confident to make a real difference to every child.
We focus on behaviour as a tool for teaching children about their own emotions and behaviour. Giving them the skills to manage difficult feelings and behaviours, raising their self-awareness and emotional intelligence and to ensure they have insight into their own trauma and can begin to have some control over their trauma responses.
Our course helps you embed this as a whole agency to create a culture and ethos that runs throughout the service!
Our approach is based around our four C’s
When it comes to approaching children about their behaviour, we believe every interaction should guide children to gain insight into their feelings and behaviours and develop the strategies they need to manage them. Leading with connection not disconnection.
Our four C’s give you the steps you need to do this:
Respond and interact with children using therapeutic response skills, before focusing on the behaviour. Leading with connection they are struggling. Offering responses that give them insight into their feelings, and how those feelings link to their behaviour. Helping them feel validated, heard and supported. Calming their survival/ emotional response and helping them access the rational thinking part of the brain.
Ensuring the child is able to regulate as part of your response to their emotional state/ behaviour when they are struggling, either through co-regulation or self-regulation. Calming the brain down to access rational and also helping develop healthy coping strategies in the moment which will contribute to increased emotional intelligence and life skills.
Offer safe, realistic boundaries that allow the child to learn from the situation rather than punish, helping to teach them how to make amends whilst also feeling safe, knowing the adult can meet their emotional needs. Thus focusing on their self-development, life skills and emotional intelligence. Rather than punishing and rejecting.
Offer this consistent, reliable, trauma informed approach that creates a sense of safety, trust and models secure attachment. Ensuring you are reflective in practice rather than reactive and helping to form new brain pathways which will lead to positive outcomes.
“The practical advice and experience enabled me to manage the issue and provide the necessary support and coping strategies and insight into parenting and caring for children in trauma.”
Our signature course
The course upskills the carers to support the child to understand their own mental health and wellbeing. We take the focus away from trying to stop negative behaviour and on to what is going on behind that behaviour.
Our course offers a step-by-step approach to supporting children’s behaviour which is underpinned by science but delivered in a relatable, realistic way. It is perfect for embedding a whole agency culture and approach to support children’s mental health, wellbeing, and behaviour and is delivered directly to the carers.
This course helps the carers help the children to take control back and not let their trauma hijack them! We specialise in closing the gap between theory and practice and helping carers and agencies have the tools, strategies, and knowledge they need to begin making changes straight away.
With a focus on supporting every child in care to become self-aware and emotionally intelligent and giving them the strategies to understand their own emotions and behaviour and giving them the skills to self-regulate and manage this for themselves.
What does each module cover?
This training is made of four key modules that form the pillars of our Teaching Positive Connections approach and helps services and individual carers understand how trauma impacts children in care and how they can adapt their responses and reactions to behaviour, to ensure they are working from a trauma-informed, attachment aware framework.
Childhood Trauma and the Brain
Learn about childhood trauma and how it impacts a developing brain. Find out what happens when children are stressed or overwhelmed. Why they have meltdowns and struggle to manage their behaviour, and the impact on internal processing. This module guides you through what is going on behind the behaviour and is underpinned by neuroscience and child development but is delivered in an easy to digest, practical and relatable way. This module lays the foundations for the approach and is full of ah-ha moments.
Insecure attachment in the context of the home
Yes, you may have done attachment before, but not like this. This module builds on from module one and explores how insecure attachment impacts children’s behaviour, thoughts, feelings and perceptions and how their early experiences continue to inform their relationships and reactions to difficult situations. This session closes the gap between theory and practice with relatable real-life scenarios and examples throughout. With a keen focus on those strategies we use to ‘manage’ behaviour that do not work for children in care and what you can do instead.
Therapeutic Response Skills
This module pulls everything that has been learnt to this point together and explores what you can do to adapt your responses and strategies to become more therapeutic and trauma informed. This session unpicks common responses we do as parents that don’t often work with children in care and what we can do instead. The focus of this session is to learn to see behind the behaviour and see the feelings, thoughts and perceptions instead. We shift the habit from focusing on behaviour and wanting to stop it, to focusing on the feeling behind it and why a child might be behaving that way. We pull from session one and look at how we can use neuroscience to help children develop their own self-awareness and emotional intelligence to begin to be able to identify their feelings and how those feelings are impacting their behaviour.
Connection Vs Disconnection with regard to behaviour
This session pulls the whole approach together and offers a step-by-step guide to responding to children who are struggling with their emotions, feelings and experiences which is reflected in their behaviour. We explore how to set boundaries in place of punishment and use consequences that are therapeutic with a focus on teaching life skills through boundaries, rather than reinforcing rejection through punishment. This session questions the normal ‘go to’ strategies parents use and considers trauma informed and attachment aware approaches in their place. With lots of examples of scenarios to help embed the approach to help you figure out how to respond to difficult behaviour, no matter what age the child is! This session gives you all you need to know to get started with what to say and how to respond at its core. This final session in the course series, will leave you with a road map you can take away and begin to implement. Complete with a template connection and self-regulation policy for agencies, to replace the behaviour management strategy.
“Brilliant course lead by an experienced trainer who shared excellent advice and guidance and made the course so interesting and thought-provoking!”
How the approach is embedded
We enrol your whole agency on to the online Teaching Positive Connections course (TPC) designed for everyone within the service! Managers, foster carers, SSWs and admin!
Benefits of Our Online Learning Platform
“I feel I have more of a bond with my foster child and can understand how to approach challenging and difficult situations.”
Alongside the course, you can book additional workshops to bring the carers together and discuss how to apply the taught content to real life. Workshops give the carers the opportunity to talk through real-life scenarios, ask questions, share experiences and unpick how the approach relates to day-to-day situations they have come across.
We deliver four live sessions to carers/ SSWs to help embed practice. These sessions are very popular and help everything come to life!
Most agencies enrol on the course and ask carers and staff to do the training. They will then run between 1-3 blocks of workshops throughout the year to enable carers to attend all four sessions.
Things to keep in mind:
Everyone must complete the first four modules before they attend the workshops. We recommend the full four workshops are attended for the biggest impact and outcomes.
Workshop Sessions Available
Whole Agency Pricing
How it works
Face to face workshops may incur additional charges and are subject to availability and location
About the Course Creator
The course is written and delivered by Shahana Knight, an award-winning childhood trauma specialist who has a background in psychology, therapy and education and who has experienced her own childhood trauma. Shahana is the author of ‘The Therapeutic School Approach’ and writer for Head Teachers Update Magazine. Shahana and her work have appeared on BBC teach and BBC Newsround. Her focus is always on the practical things you can actually do to make a difference to the young people you support, and the outcomes of her courses directly impact every child.
This is a pre-recorded online series of modules that come with support documents – this is not in webinar form but is more like a ‘netflix’ experience complete with videos/ visuals to bring it all together throughout.
“Anyone can offer a one day’s training on mental health – but our aim is to help you embed a therapeutic approach and culture across your whole agency.”