John Bolwby (1907-1990), was a British psychologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who is remembered most notably for his pioneering work in attachment theory.
According to attachment theory in infants, a child will form an attachment primarily with their main caregiver (often the mother) but can also form secondary attachments to other significant figures who feature in their child’s life, these ‘significant others’ could be relatives such as grandparents, aunts, or the child’s key person in the nursery setting. The role of the key person in providing a secure base is invaluable as she may represent a secondary attachment figure to a child in her care. As this attachment figure she can provide the child with an emotional base camp by being in a responsive emotional relationship with the child. This enables the child to feel safe enough to go off and explore on his or his/her own.