Early Years

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

From 1st September 2021, the statutory framework for the EYFS (2021) states that educational programmes must involve activities and experiences for children, as set out under each of the areas of learning.

Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive 9 relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children should be supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary. Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently. Through supported interaction with other children, they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably. These attributes will provide a secure platform from which children can achieve at school and in later life.

The relationship between the three prime areas of learning and development were set out by Clare Tickell in her review of the EYFS framework (The early years: foundations for life, health and learning – Tickell review, 2011).

Personal, Social and Emotional Development supports:

  • Physical Development – a child who feels secure and safe is confident to expand the boundaries of exploration and is motivated to reach, move and test physical capacities.
  • Communication and Language – within relationships that establish turn-taking, joint activity, a desire to communicate and understanding of shared meanings of words.

Ideas to help you in supporting Children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development:

  • Recognise that each child is an individual and may require a differing type of support at times.
  • Engage in playful interactions, model being considerate and responsive; recognise important people in children’s lives.
  • Be aware of cultural differences and support children to feel positive about their successes.
  • Reassure children when they are anxious and share information with parents.
  • Children need a sense of belonging; a key person system and key groups are an ideal opportunity to develop this.

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