The Need

Decades of research have shown that a relationship with a consistent and caring adult, known as a secure attachment, provides the optimal conditions for learning and development. Proven outcomes of such relationships include self-regulation, communication skills, emotional balance, flexibility, and the development of insight, empathy, and morality – all qualities we hope for in our children, our neighbors, and ourselves. Unfortunately, because many of America’s students are born amongst community violence, family discord, and relationships that are unstable, abusive, or non-existent, they experience a state of stress that impedes learning capacities before even entering the classroom. Without the foundation created by secure attachments, half of all children enter the classroom with insecure attachment and are at a significant disadvantage in the classroom and in life.

• Higher grades and test scores

• More focus, attention, and participation

• Heightened perseverance through challenges

• Self-confidence and resiliency

• Ablity to work independently

• Greater social competence

• Increased emotional positivity

• Security in discussing misbehavior

• Demonstration of pro-social behaviors

• Decreased of aggression & delinquency

• Lower verbal and math ability

• Shorter attention span

• Unwillingness to take on frustrating tasks

• Lack of persistence and self-confidence

• Fear of exploring one’s environment

• Decreased social competency

• Diminished emotional positivity

• Fear or internalization of rejection and failure

• Increased anxiety in school

• Frequent aggressive behavior

• Greater likelihood of exhibiting ADHD behaviors

• Increased risk for mental illness

With an overwhelming number of students entering school with insecure attachments, educators fight an uphill battle. Unfortunately, this battle is only made worse due to the fact that educators are not afforded the training or tools to fight it. While research has shown that a secure relationship with an educator results in higher academic achievement, greater social competence, and fewer behavioral problems, the art and science of building secure relationships is missing from educator preparation and support.

Our Work

FuelEd was founded to equip educators with the tools they need to build these secure attachments. We partner with K-12 schools, education organizations, and educator preparation programs to develop teachers and school leaders into secure attachment figures so that every adult in schools is emotionally intelligent, healthy, and attuned to build secure relationships that drive learning and development.

• Are consistent and predictable

• Are emotionally available

• Are warm and accepting

• Are aware of others’ feelings, needs, and perspectives

• Communicate with empathy and compassion

• Respect others’ autonomy

• Are aware of and communicate their own feelings and needs

• Model good boundaries

• Are able to tend to others’ needs because their own emotional needs are met

• Are inconsistent, unpredictable, confusing, or overwhelming

• Are emotionally unavailable or inconsistently available to others

• Shame others when their expectations are not met

• Are unaware of others’ feelings, needs, and perspectives

• Ignore or belittle others’ feelings and needs

• Undermine or attempt to dictate others’ actions

• Lack awareness of own feelings and needs

• Communicate their feelings and needs in unhealthy or indirect ways

• Model poor boundaries

Research shows that the best predictor of whether an educator will build secure or insecure relationships is the educator’s attachment style. Fortunately, as an adult, one’s attachment style has a great deal of plasticity.  Studies show that when adults become aware of how their attachment experiences shaped them, they are able to develop their own secure attachment style and ultimately build secure attachments with others, regardless of their early attachment history. FuelEd aims to take advantage of this fact: in short, more securely attached educators means more securely attached students.

The FuelEd Formula

FuelEd’s innovative training model develops educators into secure attachment figures using a combination of Workshops, Small Groups, and One-on-Ones that creatively synthesize research from developmental psychology, counseling psychology, and social neuroscience into practical applications for educators. Our workshops employ an interactive format that utilizes hands-on activities, skills training, and discussion to take educators on an engaging and enlightening tour of the science, skills and self-awareness of relationships. Because the best learning happens through discovery, we utilize insight-oriented activities that allow each educator to increase their self-knowledge through experience and sharing.

Teaching, learning, and leading in schools are emotionally laborious jobs that can feel lonely at times. FuelEd’s Small Groups allow educators to gain a sense of connection and community with other educators and personalize their FuelEd learning. Small Groups also enable educators to examine how their feelings impact their emotional health and their work. Doing so improves their ability to understand and regulate emotions that might otherwise impede student learning or staff well-being.

Educators constantly expend energy listening to and taking care of others needs. Instead of venting to family and friends, our educators use One-on-One counseling sessions for much-needed support and guidance. Coupled with Workshops and Small Groups, FuelEd’s personalized One-on-Ones are an opportunity for educators to freely and confidentially talk with someone who will listen without judgment. One-on-Ones also help educators integrate their FuelEd learning into practice, enhance emotional intelligence, and increase self-awareness by exploring their feelings, needs, challenges, and attachment histories with a FuelEd Counselor. Other benefits of One-on-Ones include stress reduction and emotional regulation and wellness, which help keep the best educators in the classroom. Learn more about FuelEd’s unique One-on-One offering by clicking the video below: