Family Learning

Family learning has been developed through a new collaboration between the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and the former heads of a family education centre in Westminster, consultant psychotherapists Neil Dawson and Brenda McHugh. Neil and Brenda are also co-founders of the Family School, an outstanding school in Islington.

We know it’s vital to work in partnership with parents to support our children, and that when school and parents work together we can accelerate children’s learning and development so that they can flourish.

Family Learning enables our pupils to:

  • Develop their ‘executive function’ to progress academically
  • Improve their attention and focus in class
  • Develop their psychological and emotional well-being;
  • Grow their resilience

Family learning takes place every Thursday morning from 9-11: parents meet over coffee and pastries in a supportive and friendly environment. We learn top tips about how our children’s brains are developing and how we can support them at home to improve their attention, focus and resilience. Each week we cover a different theme or apsect of executive function and work with our children practicing our new learning. We also get to observe our children in class with their teachers and receive direct feedback on how they are doing.  Therapeutic techniques are also embedded in all aspects of the teaching and learning programme.

During family learning parents:

  • Learn from experts on different aspects of brain development
  • Observe children in class and lessons
  • Work with their children to practise a key technique to improve executive function
  • Support each other with top tips and ideas about parenting
  • Receive feedback from teachers on children’s progress
  • Take part in practical workshops on relevant topics like reading, finances, routines, mood-meter, phonics, using rewards

Session Resources

Week 1-Introduction: What is family Learning?

Week 2-What are ‘executive function’ skills?

Week 3-How can I use the ‘Nurtured Heart’ technique?

Week 4-How can I keep my child safe online? E safety Workshop

Week 5-How can we develop executive function? Planning ahead

Week 6-How do we read at at home with children? Reading Workshop

Week 7-How do we help children deal with transitions?

Week 8-How can we label feelings and emotions? Using the Moodmeter

Week 9-How do we encourage self regulation? Emotional regulation and Tantrums

Week 10-What ideas do we have about managing finances? Finances workshop


For more information on Family Learning watch this short video: