What is it?
PACE is an approach of four personal qualities which allows adults to support a pupil to develop their own self-awareness, emotional intelligence and resilience. Over time, a pupil will gain strong tools to better understand and regulate their emotions. Key to this approach is a deep respect for the pupil’s own experiences and their inner life. When an adult engages in this work we provide a supported space within which pupils hone and develop their own thinking skills. We help pupils to reflect upon, understand and then manage their emotions more skilfully.
PACE stands for PLAYFULNESS, ACCEPTANCE, CURIOSITY, EMPATHY.
Playfulness – an open, ready, calm, relaxed and engaged attitude. When children laugh and giggle, they become less defensive and more reflective. Playfulness can help keep it all in perspective. It can also diffuse a difficult or tense situation.
Acceptance – unconditionally accepting a pupil makes them feel secure, safe and cared for. Actively communicating to the pupil that you accept the wishes, feelings, thoughts, urges, motives and perceptions that are underneath the outward behaviour. It is about accepting, without judgment or evaluation, their inner life. The pupils inner life simply is; it is not right or wrong.
Curiosity – without judgement children become aware of their inner life. Curiosity involves a quiet, accepting tone that conveys a simple desire to understand the pupil: “What do you think was going on? What do you think that was about?
Empathy – a sense of compassion for the pupil and their feelings. The adult will stay with the pupil emotionally, providing comfort and support. The adult is also communicating strength, care and commitment, with confidence that sharing the pupil’s distress will not be too much. Together they will get through it.
Pace can be used by any adult to validate, explore and understand feelings. It is an approach which limits shame, promotes compassion and brings a sense of mutual support, strength and resilience. When an adult spends time and demonstrates an interest in a pupil’s inner life the adult contains and regulates the pupil’s emotions, eventually the pupil will learn to do this themselves.
More information can be found at https://ddpnetwork.org/about-ddp/meant-pace/