Our Founder

Joe Atkinson BSc PGcE Dip PGCert

BSc Psychology  –  PGCE  Primary School Teaching  –  PGCert  Addiction Psychology and Counselling  –  Dip  Play Therapy

Who am I?

Hi, I’m Joe.  I started ChildFirst Education a few years ago after nearly 10 years of experience in education.  After my PGCE in 2008 I worked in an inner London Primary School for three years before leaving.  What concerned me most was the levels of stress on children, families and staff.

I re-trained as a Play-Therapist and started working with children and families more holistically in their homes as a home-school tutor, after-school tutor and/or mentor for a variety of reasons.

I have home-schooled a children aged between 8-14 and tutored children/worked with families across London/Kent focussing on school entrance exams (Alleyns, Putney High, Dulwich College, Colfe’s), 13+, 11+, 7+, confidence, self-esteem and a range of other issues.

I have worked with children and families from all over the world with autism, down syndrome, dyslexia, ADD, auditory processing, emotional/behavioral difficulties, epilepsy and selective mutism.

Approaching 10 years of experience in Education working in Schools as a teacher, therapist and privately with families as a tutor and home-school teacher.

My teaching style is influenced by


Play is the natural way that children use to communicate their feelings and emotions.  It is in this space that unconscious processes can be worked through, explored, solved and mastered.  This experience can help me to understand how children are engaging in their own educational journey and explore any blocks that they may have.  I am naturally a playful person and use games all the time in my sessions as an educational tool and a way of understanding the child more.


My psychological background and child-centred approach to education and learning can be a breath of fresh air for children.  In my experience the most fruitful partnerships have been the ones in which a positive, understanding, empathetic relationship can be formed quickly and create a space where learning can be understood in more depth as a unique journey by the individual.  I am always curious to highlight the importance of this, which allows a certain freedom for the child’s learning to develop at their own pace.

Compassionate Inquiry

Compassionate Inquiry is a psychotherapeutic approach developed by the world renowned author and physician Dr. Gabor Maté that reveals what lies beneath the appearance we present to the world. I am currently studying Compassionate Inquiry and it is a useful tool that helps teachers gain more of an understanding into the complex processes of the child and their way of being in our education system. Through Compassionate Inquiry, the client can recognise the unconscious dynamics that run their lives and how to liberate themselves from them.