The Circle of Security: Roadmap to building supportive relationships


By Robyn Dolby

In this edition of the Research in Practice Series we discuss a different method of cultivating relationships with children that allows carers to look beyond a child’s immediate behaviour and think about how to meet their relationship needs. Robyn Dolby does this by examining The Circle of Security, a ‘road map’ for building relationships with children originally created by Glen Cooper, Kent Hoffman and Bert Powell.



The Circle of Security is a way of thinking about emotion and behaviour that enables early childhood professionals to look beyond a child’s immediate behaviour and think about how to meet their genuine relationship needs.

Author Robyn Dolby is a psychologist with 35 years’ experience working in the infant mental health field. In this book, she demonstrates how practitioners can use the Circle of Security to create secure opportunities for children to learn by meeting their relationship needs.

Robyn demonstrates how to:

  • conduct judgement-free, empathic discussions about behaviour with children, parents, educators and other carers
  • tailor your approach to reach children who are difficult to connect with
  • make use of important transition times to build strong emotional links with families
  • increase understanding of your personal emotional map to assist you in reflecting on, and improving, your practice
  • help children develop social skills by being with them, with their peers.

The Research in Practice Series is published four times each year by Early Childhood Australia.

The Research in Practice Series is a practical, easy-to-read resource, offering effective new approaches for those challenging issues which arise in the care and education of young children. Each issue explores current and emerging research on a specialised topic within early childhood education and care and translates it into practical case studies, ideas and strategies for modern pedagogical practices.

Each issue can be purchased individually, or subscribe to receive a publication every quarter. Additionally, all subscribers to the Research in Practice Series receive access to specially developed presentations designed to take learning further, perfect to be shared during team meetings. To learn more about subscribing, click here. 

Additional information

Weight 0.11 kg
Dimensions 25 × 17.5 cm



Paperback, e-version

Year published