Dr Margot Sunderland, renowned child psychologist and psychotherapist, visited Sheffield Hallam University to deliver a free one day training course on ‘Addressing the emotional needs of infants in early years settings.’

The training course provided an over-view of the long-term effects of adult- child interactions on the young child’s developing emotional brain with a particular focus on the pro- social brain systems, which can be strengthened by positive adult- child interaction in early years settings. Dr Sunderland also explored how relational play, addressing key attachment needs and sensitive mindful attunement have a significant beneficial effect on the developing brain.  Finally, Dr. Sunderland discussed the foundational genetically ingrained systems for attachment, social joy and passion for learning and what happens if infants are deprived of sufficient positive adult-child interactions and suffer traumatic experience.

Delegates fed back that the course had given them a more in-depth understanding of brain science and psychology as well as practical interventions and strategies to address the emotional needs of infants in early years settings.

The one day training course was jointly delivered by South Yorkshire Futures and Sheffield Institute of Education to further develop our ongoing work to become ACE and Trauma informed. Dr Sunderland is Co-Director of Trauma Informed Schools UK, an educational non-profit organisation whose vision is to “to provide appropriate training for schools, communities and organisations so that they become trauma informed and mentally healthy places for all.” Sheffield Hallam University now includes a compulsory module of TISUK training in every level and age phase of initial teacher education as well as regularly hosting a 10 day Diploma in Trauma and Mental Health informed schools and communities practitioner course, delivered by TISUK.