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Children’s Brain and Emotional Development: What people working with children really need to know


Course overview

This 5 hour course will give you an accessible introduction to new science about the brain and nervous system, and how adverse early experiences can affect children.


Course aims

This course will introduce new science about the brain in easy to understand formats that will allow you to apply this knowledge to your work with children. It will describe key aspects of how early experiences can affect the brain and nervous system and how this shows itself in children’s behaviours and minds. It will also examine the effects of trauma and abuse, how resilience develops, and how this information can be used in your practice when working with children and young people.


Course topics

  • How the crucial learning from our early years influences how our behaviours, minds and brains develop
  • How early experiences can program our nervous systems, including how predisposed we are to feel stress
  • How there are sensitive periods for brain development, such as early infancy and adolescence
  • How adverse experiences, such as trauma and abuse, affect a child’s brain as well as how they behave, think and feel
  • How biology and psychology are closely linked, and change is always possible, even in our brains.

Who is this course for?

We welcome anyone to this course who has a keen interest in the subject area.

In particular, this course is for you if you are working with children and families and wish to learn more about cutting-edge research findings and how these can be used in your direct work.

You may be working in:

  • A school
  • Social services
  • Healthcare
  • The voluntary sector
  • Or you may be considering work with children in the future.

Course requirements/assessment

There are no specific requirements for the course, although we suggest you are working with, or have an interest in working with children, or want to learn more about the effects of difficult early experiences on children’s minds and behaviours.

There’s a multiple choice question assessment at the end of the course.



Course Timings

This course runs continuously, so you can sign up at any time. It offers five hours of learning which you can undertake at a time and pace that suits you.

You will have access to the course and its materials for a total of four weeks. Access begins the day after you’ve registered and paid, when you will receive login details by email.


Course facilitators

Dr Graham Music

Dr Graham Music

Dr Graham Music (PHD) is Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and an Adult Psychotherapist in private practice. He has a particular interest in exploring the interface between developmental findings and clinical work. Formerly Associate Clinical Director of the Tavistock and Portman’s Child and Family Department, he has managed…



This is an excellent course, well laid out, clear and easy to use giving students a comprehensive understanding on how adverse early childhood experiences shape the structure and function of the brain, impacting emotional, psychological and physical development all the way into adult life. The course covers both the challenges and possibilities of change working with children and adolescents who have experienced developmental trauma and neglect.
Amanda Glass
I really enjoyed this course. It has given me a greater understanding of how trauma and poor early experiences can affect a child. It has motivated me to learn more and to apply this knowledge when working with children and infants and in particular those who have had a difficult start to life.
Mini Course Student
This is a ‘must’ for people from all sectors working with children & young people wanting to get an understanding of why so many children & young people struggle as they do. The material is easily accessible, incredibly clear and engaging, leaving me wanting to know more!
Harriet Gordon
This course is important for anyone working with children. It draws upon extensive up to date research to explain the long lasting emotional, physical and psychological effects of adverse childhood experiences. It helpfully explains how children and young people in schools and society may feel and behave because of their early experiences. I found the combination of videos, diagrams and reading very helpful in explaining complex concepts. The course includes important relevant topics such as the effects of technology and social media. Lastly the course offers hope by explaining that change is possible with the aid of understanding adults and caring environments.
Robyn Saffer
Child and Family Psychodynamic Psychotherapist
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