Thursday, 10 July 2014

Robertson Films

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Recently a large charity bought copies of these films on DVD for each of their branch offices to train staff in how to help small children who are suffering emotionally from a temporary separation from their parents.  These films, although not made recently are unique and I thought it possible you may not know of them.   Why not take advantage of our offer of a 10% discount if you buy all five in the series?   This 10% discount also applies if you buy just 'Jane' and 'John' at the same time.  You can order them online at our website or you can send us a purchase order.

These films come with a comprehensive teaching guide.

Young Children in Brief Separation - Jane
DVD 1968 37 Minutes

Fostered for 10 days, Jane is less distressed than John.
Jane is a bright active child of 17 months who is in foster care for 10 days. At this age she cannot keep a clear image of her mother in her mind, and makes a strong attachment to the foster mother. Although she copes and relates well, there are times of confusion and she cools towards her visiting father. Care by a responsive substitute mother keeps alive Jane’s experience of warm mothering, so that at reunion she goes eagerly back to her mother. But she is not abruptly separated from the foster mother. In order that Jane should not suffer the sudden loss of someone to whom she has become strongly attached, the foster mother visits over the next few weeks. (Contrast study to John, aged 17 months, for nine days in a Residential nursery)

German  version also available

£70.00 plus postage, and VAT

Young Children in Brief Separation - John
DVD 1969 43 Minutes

In a nursery and separated from his mother for nine days, John becomes very distressed.
At 17 months John is a placid, easy to manage child.

He spends nine days in a residential nursery whilst his mother has a baby The nurses are young and friendly, but the system of care does not allow any one of them to substitute for the absent mother.

John tries hard to make a relationship but is defeated and becomes increasingly distressed. When his mother comes to take him home, he will not accept her and struggles to get out of her arms. He looks at his mother in a way she has never seen before.

JOHN has a use beyond teaching about child development. He is a microcosm of the human dilemma of how to give appropriate care to those in need, whether they be infants, the aged, the mentally ill, or prisoners, all of whom need stable, supportive relationships.

German and Russian versions also available

£90.00 plus postage, and VAT

Young Children in Brief Separation - Kate
DVD 1967  33 Minutes

Kate, fostered for 27 days, plays out her conflicting emotions with dolls.
Kate is a lively and talkative child of 2 years 5 months whose stay with the Robertsons becomes extended to 27 days because of complications in the birth. She is old enough to have some understanding of the situation.

Kate is under considerable strain because of the prolonged absence of her mother but is never overwhelmed by anxiety. She is helped by seeing her mother in the hospital, and by her father’s visits to the foster home; but is increasingly disappointed that she is not taken home.

In play with a family of dolls Kate shows vividly the conflict of feeling about her absent parents. But on reunion she returns to her mother with pleasure, and keeps a friendly relationship thereafter to the foster mother.

£70.00 plus postage, and VAT 

Young Children in Brief Separation - Lucy
DVD 1976 31 Minutes

Fostered for 19 days, Lucy becomes very attached to her foster mother.
Lucy, 21 months, a sturdy serious child, is in foster care for 19 days. Like Jane she is too young to carry a clear image of the absent mother and readily accepts the foster mother’s care. Lucy is helped by her father’s daily visits, and by her relationship with her substitute mother.

Despite episodes of anxiety and resistive behaviour she manages well within the supportive relationship. At reunion she reunites eagerly with her mother. But there is a problem. During the 19 days Lucy had become very attached to her foster mother and has difficulty in giving her up.

The film shows dramatically the conflict of feeling, and how during subsequent weeks mother and foster mother co-operate in helping Lucy to resolve it. Together they prevent her experiencing the sudden loss of a second loved person.

£70.00 plus postage, and VAT
Available to buy from:

Young Children in Brief Separation - Thomas
DVD  1971 39 Minutes

Thomas at two years old has more understanding, but his loyalties conflict.
Thomas is an active little boy of 2 years 4 months who is in foster care for ten days. He speaks well and has a good understanding of the reasons for the separation from his mother. He is well supported by a father who visits every day, and who shows much understanding of his son.

There are times when the strong wish for the mother makes Thomas turn away from her photograph, but throughout he carries a clear and loving image of her. His need for affection and physical care from the foster mother conflicts with his loyalty to the absent mother; so loving embraces sometime turn into punching pinching and scratching. At reunion he discards the foster mother and is tender and affectionate to his mother. (There is some live sound of Thomas’s voice).

£70.00 plus postage, and VAT

Many training institutions have found this short comparison film of great value.

Young Children in Brief Separation - The Importance of Substitute Mothering
DVD 1971 21 Minutes

Short version of Young Children in Brief Separation John and Jane.
This derivative film presents the main theme of two films from the series Young Children in Brief Separation: a young child separated from the mother needs to be put into the care of one person who will act as a mother to him attentive and always there to give comfort. John, aged 17 months, is looked after by changing nurses in a residential nursery and tries unsuccessfully to find one who will mother him. He turns for comfort to large teddy bears, deteriorates day by day, and at a reunion rejects his mother. In contrast Jane, who is also 17 months, is cared for by a foster mother to whom she makes a close relationship. Her good development continues, and at reunion she goes warmly to her mother. But the caution is made that no matter how good the substitute care, separation from the mother remains a hazard for young children. James and Joyce Robertson

This short version is specially suitable as an introduction to the subject for school children of 13 years and older. A guide booklet accompanies the film.

£50.00 plus postage, and VAT

If you have read this far you may be interested to know more about the background to these films. If so please go to:

For our full list of Robertson films visit:

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