Hand in Hand Approach

Using the Hand in Hand Listening Tools in childcare settings.

Hand in Hand is a connection-based approach to parenting and working with children (see www.handinhandparenting.org). Hand in Hand Parenting was founded in 1989 in the US and now has many instructors in countries all over the world. The founder of Hand in Hand, Patty Wipfler, set up and ran a pre-school using the Hand in Hand ethos and tools, and the organisation has decades of experience in supporting parents and people who work with children. At the Secret Garden we have been using the Hand in Hand approach in our work with pre-school children since 2015, and have experienced great outcomes for children, staff and parents.

Hand in Hand uses 5 simple and effective listening tools based on listening to children, which can help:

  • Build stronger and closer relationships with the children in your care
  • Increase cooperation
  • Work with separation anxiety and clinginess
  • Provide effective tools and strategies for working with aggression and challenging behaviour
  • Give clear guidelines for setting warm and effective limits
  • Develop connection based strategies in areas where there are commonly tensions, such as sharing and “saying sorry”
  • Build networks of support for the adults who are caring for children,

“…The more I use the approach the more confident I become in its suitability for application in a pre-school setting, with concrete positive results including building trust between children, practitioners, and parents, and improving my capacity to respond to the individual needs of children in a consistently kind and clear way.” 
Early Years Practitioner



A series of workshops will be facilitated by Louise Durrant, a certified instructor of Hand in Hand Parenting (you can read Louise’s story on the Hand in Hand website here) who is also Training Facilitator  at Secret Garden. The  sessions are usually limited to around 6 places so that we can work together in a small group, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions, reflect on individual practice and participate in listening support groups. 

Hand in Hand mini series

We ran three mini series throughout 2020, each one consisting of an Introduction Session and two Topic Sessions. Participants attended an Intro Session before they were able to attend a Topic. Once they attended an intro session they were able to book for as many topic sessions as they liked.

From feedback, the series were well received and we are currently exploring dates for further HiH courses and series for 2023. The first is currently running though Spring and Summer, free for parents at the nursery and includes an intro session and 4 topics. In addition to these workshops, there will be a 6-week starter class running from 8th May- 12th June 2023. Cost for Secret Garden parents will be £230 (usually £260) with one reduced cost place available on application. Places are limited to 6.

If you have any questions or wish to explore any bespoke HiH training options please contact us at the office: enquiries@secretgardenoutdoor-nursery.co.uk