Personal Social and Emotional Development

Personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is one of the prime areas and underpins all learning and everything we do.  It is a key building block for future happiness and success.  Understanding fundamental aspects will ensure that we are able to scaffold, co-regulate and support children to develop the necessary skills and have the greatest of life chances. 

What does the EYFS statutory Framework say about PSED?

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 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.

Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage Setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five Published: 31 March 2021 Effective: 1 September 2021

 

What does Birth to Five Matters say about PSED?
  • Who we are (personal), how we get along with others (social) and how we feel (emotional) are foundations that form the bedrock of our lives. As we move through life, we are continually developing our sense of self as we weave a web of relationships with self, others and with the world.
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development is fundamental to all other aspects of lifelong development and learning, and is key to children’s wellbeing and resilience. For babies and young children to flourish, we need to pay attention to how they understand and feel about themselves, and how secure they feel in close relationships: in so doing they develop their capacities to make sense of how they and other people experience the world. Children’s self-image, their emotional understanding and the quality of their relationships affect their self-confidence, their potential to experience joy, to be curious, to wonder, and to face problems, and their ability to think and learn.
  • A holistic, relational approach creates an environment that enables trusting relationships, so that children can do things independently and with others, forming friendships. Early years practitioners meet the emotional needs of children by drawing on their own emotional insight, and by working in partnership with families to form mutually respectful, warm, accepting relationships with each of their key children

 

What does Development Matters say about PSED?
  • 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

 

What does OFSTED say about PSED?

When observing interactions between staff and children, inspectors should consider how well staff:

  • support independence and confidence
  • enable children to explore and solve problems
  • behave as an excellent role model for children
  • support children to recognise and respond to their own physical needs
  • attend to children’s personal needs.
  • Observing care routines and how they are used to support children’s personal development, including the setting’s approach to toilet training

 

What does PSED look like in practice?
  ‘This model from Birth to Five Matters consolidates this understanding of how the importance of PSED underpins the development of the child.
‘Development involves cognition, memory, attention, language and communication as well as feelings, relationships and sensory-motor skills. Although development is often considered in terms of different aspects, it cannot really be compartmentalised since one domain very often influences the development of other domains.  It is important to consider the whole child at the centre of the many influences on development.’ Birth to Five Matters 2021

How can we support children’s development of PSED in our settings?

Let’s look at each section of the EYFS to unpick how we can do this.

Cognitive development

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.

Serve & Return Interaction Shapes Brain Circuitry (watch the video here)

Relationships are at the heart of our role as Educators.

Our relationships with each family.

Our relationships with each child.

Our role to support relationships between children.

Relationships build the brains of our children creating a solid foundation for cognitive development.

Attachment

Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others.

Being an Emotionally Available Adult means that you are a secure base for a child in school or setting, you will have an understanding that behaviour is communicating an emotion.  You will be calm, consistent and warm, being curious, a good listener and not making assumptions of the children that you are working with.
You will work alongside a child to support them in developing different ways of thinking or behaving, modelling what it is to be in a positive relationship, truly connecting with the child making them feel like they belong and are valued.
If children have secure caring attachments created by us as Emotionally Available Adults, the child’s emotion system can become more balanced and children can develop the ability to play, seek and care. Children will develop positive self-esteem, effective stress regulatory systems and have the capacity to build relationships which are lifelong skills.
For more in depth information please see the information below.

ATTACHMENT

EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE ADULT

Our relationships during the pandemic have been altered and stretched.  Routines that were in place to support attachments have changed.  As we move into a new phase and plan for our children and families this article prompts us to reflect on our practices and what is right for our children.

Read the article here .

Self regulation

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.

This section of the EYFS is referring to self-regulation.

Self-regulation is not something that just happens to children, it is something that needs to be taught within a secure relationship where the adult supports the child to regulate in a process called co regulation.

‘Self-regulation involves children’s developing ability to regulate their emotions, thoughts and behaviour to enable them to act in positive ways toward a goal’ Birth to 5 Matters 2021. It has been recognised as a key indicator in positive life outcomes and therefore a crucial skill for all children to learn. Brains do not mature until the age of 25 so the learning and development of self-regulation can be a long one.

Some of our self-regulation skills are cognitive which are sometimes referred to as ‘executive function skills’ these allow us to have flexible attention, working memory and inhibitory control.  These allow us to manage attention, thoughts and behaviour.  Another of our self-regulation skills is managing emotions, if emotional buttons are pressed this affects our ability to use our cognitive self-regulation skills which affects our ability to listen, remember the right thing to do and focus on learning.

Watch the video here

How can we develop self-regulation?

A pedagogy which includes co-regulation strategies will help children develop self-regulatory skills.

Researchers have identified three basic strategies for co-regulation:

Please click on the image to open the document

Positive Relationships – Provide a warm, responsive relationship where children feel respected, comforted and supported in times of stress, and confident that they are cared for at all times.

Enabling Environments – Create an environment that makes self-regulation manageable, structured in a predictable way that is physically and emotionally safe for children to explore and take risks without unnecessary stressors.

Learning and Development – Teach self-regulation skills through modelling, suggesting strategies, providing frequent opportunities to practice, and scaffolding to support children to use self-regulation skills.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning are an amazing source of information to allow us to reflect on how we are providing these through positive relationships and our enabling environments.

These videos show how children are developing self-regulation.

Questions for reflection as you watch could include?

THESE VIDEOS HAVE BEEN PRODUCED BY SIREN FILMS

Active Learning – Introduction

ACTIVE LEARNING – INTRODUCTION

Active-Learning-–-Enjoying-achieving-what-they-set-out-to-do

ACTIVE LEARNING – ENJOYING ACHIEVING WHAT THEY SET OUT TO DO

CREATING AND THINKING CRITICALLY – INTRODUCTION

Creating-and-thinking-critically-–-Having-their-own-ideas

CREATING AND THINKING CRITICALLY – INTRODUCTION

Playing-&-Exploring-–-Exploring

PLAYING & EXPLORING – EXPLORING

For more information of how you can support children self-regulation and executive function skills please see the Birth to Five Matters website here.

Interactions

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.’

There are many different ways that we can create this ethos within schools and settings. Dan Hughes’ PACE model allows us to think about how we connect and how to avoid misconnecting. Emotion coaching provides a process for supporting children emotionally at times of conflict.

CONNECTION

EMOTION COACHING

Health

Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently.

Our mental and physical health are not separate entities but an interdependent on one another so it is important that we teach young children the importance of looking after their bodies.

BRISTOL EARLY YEARS FOOD

NUTRITION

ORAL HEALTH

Contacts

Nicola Theobald – (General and Nursery School Enquiries)

Deborah Brown – (General Enquiries)

Dawn Butler – (General Enquiries)

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