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Circle of Security

Circle of Security is a visual “map” of caregiver-child attachment. It is an early intervention program designed to strengthen the relationship between a caregiver and child.

Research has demonstrated positive outcomes from COS training. Caregivers “indicated more joy and less hostility in their relationship with the child, perceived themselves as more capable of parenting the child, and showed more support and kindness to the child”. (Huber, McMahon, & Sweller. (2015). p. 569).


Huber, A., McMahon, A., & Sweller, N. (2015). Efficacy of 20-week Circle of Security Intervention: Changes in Caregiver Reflective Functioning, Representations, and Child Attachment an Australian Clinical Sample. Infant Mental Health Journal, 36(6), 556-574.


Playspaces- Educators, Parents and Toddlers
Dolby, R. Hughes, E. Friezer, B. (2014). Lived Spaces: Infant-Toddler Education and Care.

Playspaces is a chapter from the book Living Spaces: Infant-Toddler Education and Care which examines children’s experiences arriving and departing childcare using the Attachment Matters Project, the Circle of Security map of child attachment-exploration – the ok-not-okay circle, and the Playspaces concept. The authors conducted research to identify the importance of the transitional periods between children, parents/caregivers, and educators. They argue for the investment of programs during these transitional times and the overall affects this period has on the child and their behavior.

The authors begin the chapter by explaining the Attachment Matters Project, why this specific approach to conduct research was chosen, how the research was conducted, and the participants of the study. They proceed to discuss the Circle of Security approach and the okay-not-okay map in regard to analyzing the data. The researcher was to use the okay-not-okay as a “road map to describe what they saw” with respect to the child’s needs in that moment. After identifying the components of the research, the authors analyze the Playspace Structure, an early childhood program which creates an “external” and “internal space” facilitating a smooth transition at the beginning of the day and the end. Lastly, the development of the transition procedure and the step-by-step transitional guide are explained.

Circle of Security in Child Care: Putting Attachment Theory Into Practice in Preschool Classrooms
Copper, G. Hoffman, K. Powell, B. (2017). Zero to Three

In Circle of Security in Child Care, Copper, Hoffman, and Powel describe the Circle of Security (COS) approach in the classroom and emphasizes the importance of implementing the attachment theory in preschool settings. Research has demonstrated the significant contributions a secure teacher-child relationship has on a developing child and their readiness for school. The authors believe “most preschool staff members lack guidance in cultivating a secure attachment with students”, and how COS-classroom can “meet the need for this specialized skill”.

The authors begin the article by providing the reader with a basic understanding of why attachment is so important in preschool settings, they introduce the principles of COS, how educators can identify children who are struggling with relationship difficulties, the development of an action plan to help students form secure teacher-child attachments, and how preschool setting can develop relationship-friendly classrooms. Lastly, the authors conclude the article by highlighting important aspects and take-ways of the eight session program.

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