Personal, Social and Emotional Development

What is it?

Personal, Social and Emotional Development is recognized as one of the building blocks of success in life. It supports children’s development by helping them interact effectively and develop positive attitudes to themselves and others. However, this does not happen in the isolation and relies on influential adults such as parents and carers providing them with positive feedback and modeling appropriate behavior.

In the revised EYFS PSED is broken down into three aspects:

  • Self-confidence and self-awareness
  • Managing feeling and behavior
  • Making relationships

Self-confidence and self-awareness

This aspect is about how children come to develop confidence in who they are and what they can do and in expressing their own ideas. We know that although many people have several people who care deeply about them all children need to have at least one person who is ‘on their side’ for them to really thrive. This helps the child feel valued and special and gives them a sense of self worth. This in turn leads to them being confident with others and knowing when they need support from other people.

Managing Feeling and Behaviour

This aspect is about how children can understand their own feelings and other people’s feelings, and how they learn to manage their feelings without letting them spill out at every small annoyance they meet. It also links to how they can learn and follow simple rules which operate in different places such as home and a setting or a play area. Children need the support of adults to help them to understand these complex and often challenging areas.

Making Relationships

This aspect is about how young children learn to get along with other children and with adults; how they can see something from someone else point of view and take that into account when they play and work with other children. It is also significant in developing friendships. to be able to do these things children need role models – adults who show them how to be with others; how to be kind and to understand why people behave in certain ways – such as saying sorry for hurting another person’s feelings. This area of development and learning is one of which many adults continue to struggle with since it is far-ranging and complex. Helping children develop personally, socially and emotionally is often a challenge but the benefits if this are life-long.


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