Relationship Matters : Secure Base

Recently, during a Parent and Infant Class at Little Learner’s Lodge, I was reminded of the beauty of deep, intimate relationships.

Luke and his mom arrived a few minutes early and were waiting for others to join.  Content, Luke began exploring four metal cups- engrossed by their musical metallic ringing.

I, too, became engrossed by Luke’s activity with the cups- the stacking, the clanging, and their rolling about during his manipulation.  Luke seemed unaware of my presence or that of the other adults in the environment.

Yet, when the entrance door opened, he swiftly swiveled his body around and gazed up at the parent entering with her newborn.  Relatively new to our school community, the adult was an unfamiliar face to Luke.

If I hadn’t been watching him so intently, I may have missed Luke’s lower lip disappearing a bit as he glanced up at me and then over to his mother for reassurance.

Here is how he got it:

Volumes have been written on healthy attachments and the importance of providing a secure base even before John Bowlby completed his development of the modern attachment theory.   Admittedly, our adult resources in the form of research, manuals, and guides can sound a bit clinical and aloof when describing concepts such as  prospective and observational methods, adult relationships during play to support exploration and competence, and the effects of early experiences in relationship to the child’s developing character.

There’s nothing clinical, however, about the intensity of this obviously mutual regard and respect among parent, child, and educarer sharing a deep and intimate relationship.

What did Luke do next?  It was textbook- he refueled, and renewed his exploration of the environment-  moving physically away from his secure bases while checking in from across the room from time to time by eye contact or with a smile.