Tag Archives: sustained shared thinking

Guest post

Sustained Shared Thinking: Children and Trauma

My new online course on Sustained Shared Thinking is now available. You can get it at a special price here…
>> The Sustained Shared Thinking Online Course <<

Sustained shared thinking tipsToday’s guest blogger, Jane Evans, has specialist knowledge in a much under represented area of early years – trauma and domestic violence. She is the creator of the ‘Tuning In’ Parenting Beyond Trauma, Parenting Towards Harmony and Happiness Programmes, and the ‘Tuning In’ Beyond Trauma Training for professionals.

Statistics from the womensaid organisation are shocking:

At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence. (Department of Health, 2002).
In 75% to 90% of incidents of domestic violence, children are in the same or the next room.

This is a subject which desperately needs discussion.

I’m very excited that Jane has written this blog post to promote such discussion about the subject. Do add your comments!

Tend and nurture a child’s emotions and they will grow to reach for the sky.
by Jane Evans, Specialist Parenting & Behaviour Skills Consultancy

Reading Kathy’s article on Sustained shared thinking gave me an ‘aha’ moment.

It prompted me to think about all the children, and parents, I have worked with, over a 15-year period, who have lived through trauma. Those people who so badly needed someone who could spend the time to help them to find the tools to expand on their thinking.

All children clearly would benefit from this, but the children I have known have experienced a variety of traumas in their short lives. Most of their experiences were of living with domestic violence and abuse, along with other forms of abuse and neglect.

As a Parenting Worker in a range of settings with families with complex needs, I often began my work with the main carer, usually a mother. I then did some 1:1 work with a child or children and used this to inform my work with the main carer.

I observed first hand the effects of trauma on the child’s development and the complex pattern of attachment between the main carer and the child, and the ways in which this impacted on the child’s social and emotional understanding and skills – and this is where practitioners need to focus their skills.

Taking part in ‘sustained shared thinking’ with traumatised children needs an extension of most practitioners’ skills. Knowledge and understanding of the effects of trauma on:

• brain development and function
• impact on behaviour
• speech and language
• social and emotional skills

would need to be the foundation for this.

Why? Children who live with, or through, trauma rarely develop the ability to access and connect with their feelings. There is often very little input from their carers who are preoccupied by their own stress and trauma and may not be able to offer this.

Therefore, it is crucial to take time to start this journey with young children by gently suggesting feelings they may have or thoughts so as to put ‘pennies’ in the empty slot machine.

Then, when they are asked, as they will be in life, how they feel about something they can ‘pay out’ with a response that they feel and understand. This in time will also give them the ability to empathise and understand that others have a mind and a set of feelings too.

Practitioners can gently suggest without jumping in too soon, “I saw what happened with you and Alfie, I wondered how you were feeling about it?

(Pause for child to respond), I was thinking that maybe you felt anxious, sad, confused etc.?”

Pennies are put in so they can later be ‘paid out’. Thinking can be expanded and built on once the child begins to feel that it is safe for them to look inwards as well as outwards. The practitioner is there to support them in doing this.

Traumatised children will often present as ‘falsely fierce’, fearless and overly confident.

Life experience has taught them this is how to survive and it needs an attentive, focused practitioner to pick up the subtle signals they throw out that all is not as it seems. These children do not have the ability to think things through, but are often only able to react on impulses to survive, as that is what has got them this far in their difficult lives.

‘Sustained shared thinking’ seems to be the first step in offering a much needed ‘attachment figure’ to children who have lived through trauma and the importance of this is inestimable!

More insight into, and understanding of, how parenting is affected by trauma, such as domestic violence, can be found during my training in Bristol in September.

Click here for my Tuning In Beyond Trauma Training

click here for information about Colette Winters training

About Jane Evans:

I have extensive experience of direct work with parents, carers, children and professionals who have been faced with the effects of trauma, such as domestic violence and abuse, child safeguarding issues, substance dependency, homelessness, mental illness, learning difficulties, school non-attendance and loss.

The families and professionals taught me that a different approach to supporting parents and carers was needed and that it had to be about emotional intelligence and empathy so this has been the corner stone for the parenting programmes, professional’s training, 1:1 parenting and consultancy work which I now offer.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07946318404
Twitter:JaneEvans @janeparenting
http://parentingposttrauma.co.uk/

My new online course on Sustained Shared Thinking is now available. You can get it at a special price here…
>> The Sustained Shared Thinking Online Course <<

And to read my ultimate guide to Sustained Shared thinking, click here:

>> The Ultimate Guide To Sustained Shared Thinking <<

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Recommended Resources

Breathtakingly Beautiful Land of Me

The amazingly talented team at ‘Made in Me’ understand the lesson that Disney demonstrated in Snow White 50 years ago – attention to detail and watercolour beautiful animations are a winning combination.

They have designed a computerised book, which is issued in themed chapters. Chapter one is shape, size and colour; Chapter 2 the Outside World; Chapter 3 is Making Things and the newly released Chapter 4 is Rhythm and Dance. The story is based around 3 animated friends – Buddy Boo the bear, Eric the raccoon and Willow the Owl. They can imagine being different things, but the three properties of the imagined objects are chosen by the child using the programme.

Once chosen, a picture of the imagined object appears. Clicking on the picture animates it. By changing the words in the descriptive speech bubble, the picture changes.

The stated aim of this delightful software is to promote discussion between the computer users, whether that is parent and child or children working together – the ‘sustained shared thinking’ of the EPPE research. I was initially concerned that the temptation would be to just leave the child to their own devices but when I left my youngest son alone with the first chapter, all he wanted to do was show me the pictures he had created!

The educational consultant on the project, Professor John Siraj-Blatchford has been able to optimise the learning opportunities such as symbols representing objects and the connections between words and actions. It is a great idea to be able to print the pictures and related activities. In my experience this is exactly what children will want to do.

I thoroughly enjoyed using this programme. It was very refreshing to hear English accents and the instructions are clear. There are only 3 options to choose from, but this is probably enough for very young children.

Personally I think, just as Disney 50 years ago, Made in Me have created a classic against which others will be measured in years to come.

The Land of Me can be downloaded very easily at www.madeinme.com Enjoy!


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Viewpoint

Sustained Shared Thinking – How Important is It?

Sustained Shared Thinking
My new online course on Sustained Shared Thinking is now available. You can get it at a special price here…
>> The Sustained Shared Thinking Online Course < <

 
Sustained shared thinking has been defined as

” an episode in which two or more individuals ‘work together’ in an intellectual way to solve a problem, clarify a concept, evaluate activities, extend a narrative etc. Both parties must contribute to the thinking and it must develop and extend” Siraj-Blatchford et al (2002) Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years (REPEY), Dfes.

This is not a new concept, just a new name. Most early years theorist value the adult/child interaction, from Vygotsky’s social interaction and more knowledgeable other; Bruner’s discovery learning; Piaget constructivism right through to Lave’s situated learning.

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Viewpoint

Are you a Sparkly Thinker?

At a recent conference about children’s thinking the presenter, the acclaimed author Marion Dowling, made a comment about why it is so important that we should understand children’s thinking processes and how we can then use this in our work. As she stated – “we can’t compel children to engage”. I’m sure every practitioner can empathise with this, having sat in front of a group of children with a book and knowing that not every child is listening!

Marion then went on to describe a situation she had observed in a reception class, who had been learning about Goldilocks and the three bears. When it was time to review their learning the teacher didn’t fire questions at the children but chose to dress up as ‘Mrs Locks’ who had lost her daughter ‘Goldie’.

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