DDP in Schools

Trauma and attachment difficulties can create problems for children in school.


School is a particularly difficult environment for children who don’t feel safe with adults and whose emotion and attention regulation skills make it difficult for them to learn.

Children, and their families can become frustrated as social and academic failures persist. Children feel discouraged and may be reluctant to go to school.

Often parents have to take time from work or spend hours battling homework issues with a child who does not yet have the emotional safety to learn.

The Belong Classroom initiative

Sian Phillips, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

In Ontario, the Belong classroom initiative was developed for children who are not able to manage regular classroom or traditional behavioural classrooms because of trauma and attachment difficulties. The students may be in foster care or be with biological parents, but with support from family and children’s services. There is a maximum of eight students who can be enrolled in the program.

All staff have been trained in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and receive regular consultation to ensure that the attitude of PACE remains primary in interactions with students. The curriculum and structure of the classroom have also been developed to ensure emotional and physical safety.

Further reading from the Resource Library

All School focussed resources

The Belong Classroom initiative