Marte Meo: Focus on the Child

Marte Meo: Focus on the Child Currently used in ten Gunawirra preschools and in Miller Boomerangs Programme, Marte Meo is an internationally renowned program of over 20 years standing. Marte Meo provides children with relationship support and emotional security.

Gunawirra uses Marte Meo method in conjunction with latest infant and child psychodynamic thinking, Circles of Security, and Infant Observation method. We now know that the core problems of  Aboriginal children lie in the  loss of attachment which forms the basis of human relating. This loss is the result of dislocation from land, family, community and culture. Trauma creates autistic like states from the overflow of emotion that the sensitive child’s ego cannot cope with. This state  blocks imagination, emotions, and play activities, as an avoidance of suffering what is too painful.

Marte Meo

  • Focuses on the child’s strengths.  His or her needs are placed at the centre of the paradigm so that a pleasant positive way of communication between adult and child is built in a short time.
  • Focuses on the encouragement and use of one’s own inner strength.
  • Is a program to identify, activate and develop interactional and developmental skills.
  • Is for using the strengths of preschool children, their professional and other carers, their parents and their community.


  • Infant and preschool child observation as a diagnostic tool (Tavistock clinic has historically used this method).
  • Video review: Participants  learn to how to identify where children need support and how they can help. Natural supportive moments are analysed in a way that participants are able to understand how to repeat these moments with children and to stay in them for longer. Video interaction  analysis came from discussion with Daniel Stern world famous child psychoanalyst.

Marte Meo programs are taken from natural developmental processes and from everyday life:

  • Changes take place in action moments, less in talking than in doing.
  • It notes every developmental initiative the child makes. The preschool worker and the parent can use this to develop natural growth processes both emotionally and intellectually.
  • It adjusts to the child and to the child’s family, not the other way around.
  • It sees problems as a way of growing, as opportunities to emotionally grow and learn.

Here are some comments from our professionals after our training in Marte Meo methodology:

Helped me to not become overwhelmed and often defeated, by the enormity of the crisis/problem confronting staff”.

Having a place to begin that was practical, achievable and understandable improves the likelihood of success”.

I also love the video because it is concrete- it shows where there has been progress – it’s on the tape and therefore very real”.

The following Gunawirra supported preschools and Sydney area centres are involved. They’re in the process of training in Marte Meo: Miller; Kempsey; Gunawirra; Werris Creek; Inverell; Katingal; Quirindi; Tilba Tilba; and, Tamworth.