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, spent many years running a pre-school setting 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.” Anna, Early Years Practitioner

A series of evening 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 Senior Practitioner  at Secret Garden. Workshops will be for small groups, to allow opportunities for sharing, questions, and looking at specific situations. The structure and group sizes will also facilitate group cohesion and build trust, allowing participants to go deeper into their own process, and to have the opportunity to receive group listening support.

For maximum benefit, and to get a more complete picture of the Hand in Hand tools and how they work we recommend attendance at the whole series of workshops. A discount will be offered for participants who book for all 5. Participants are also very welcome to attend one or more workshops.

Contact the office for further information or if you are ready to book, complete our online form.

Workshop dates and themes

Tuesday 2 April, 6-9pm (NOW PASSED)

The Connection Framework – Listening to Children’s Feelings 

This session will be an introduction to Hand in Hand’s connection framework as a basis for a transformative approach to childcare. We will look at the importance of listening to children’s feelings and learn how to do this in practice. We will look at some of the practical ways that this approach can be immediately effective in building better relationships and overcomingcommon challenges in childcare settings.

Tuesday 21 May, 6-9pm

Dealing with Challenging Behaviour – connection, play and limits

Through the connection framework of Hand in Hand, we will deepen our understanding of challenging and aggressive behaviour, and will look at how to support a child who is behaving aggressively whilst keeping others safe. We will discuss how to set limits warmly and effectively and how to use listening tools to create a safe environment for the release of difficult emotions, helping to bring a child who is off track back in to balance.

Tuesday 20 August, 6-9pm

Working with Separation Anxiety

In this session we will explore how to work through children’s separation difficulties using the Hand in Hand listening approach, and see how this can have a positive impact on the children’s levels of confidence and wellbeing. You’ll hear about how we’ve used this approach successfully at the Secret Garden: we love how the Hand in Hand approach to separation anxiety can turn something difficult into something positive.

Tuesday 24 September, 6-9pm

Sharing and Cooperation

When all is well in their world, children love to share, and are naturally cooperative. In this workshop we will explore how connection builds cooperation and how we can restore and strengthen connection and build cooperation through listening and play. We will look at a connection based strategy for sharing, which empowers children and helps ease some common tensions around sharing.

Tuesday 29 October, 6-9pm

Empowering Children through Play

We will explore using play as a listening tool and intervention to help children work through their blocks and fears and to feel more empowered and connected . We will also take a look at some potentially edgy types of play, such as weapon and superhero play, asking when and how it can be helpful for an adult to intervene. When an adult is able to “follow the laughter” and take the less powerful role, children are able to use the power of play to its maximum benefit for healing and learning.