We are born to connect.
During early childhood we learn to connect and create patterns, this is how our understanding of concepts develops. Young children need patterns and experiences to understand how the world works. They provide tamariki with an appreciation of what to expect throughout life in terms of possibilities and opportunities. Psychiatrist Rene Spitz studied infants and young children during the 1930's and found that even if children received adequate nutrition and health care they would still fail to thrive from a lack of loving contact.
Attachment is a relational process which builds throughout infancy and is established at about 8 months of age when infants develop significant cognitive skills. Children at this age develop the capacity to cognitively understand what is often referred to as object permanence - the understanding of cause and effect and the appreciation that objects (including people) can still exist even if we can't see them at the time. Children who love playing 'peekaboo' are in this exciting stage of development! Once a child is able to understand object permanence they are able to understand a different way of thinking, have feelings about themselves and others, and this allows the first learning's in relationships and how they work.
Spitz found that how children learn to connect and engage with their caregivers was how they then interacted with people their whole lives. This is a pretty fundamental finding and one that we can often here in adult conversations being 'you're just like your mother' or 'you are just like your father'!
Regardless of who we are acting like (in my case it's definitely my father!), the framework of interactions we have from infancy that continues throughout our whole life does define how we understand love. There is a reason for positive guidance being a major part of the Ministry of Education guidelines for all ages and it is something we definitely support at Cherry Grove. It makes teaching routines, boundaries, and rhythms much harder and the social commenting required is far great but it is worth the time and effort for our tamariki to understand they are loved regardless of how far they have dipped their toes over the edge!