Eligible working families whose children will be aged between 9 and 23 months old on 31 August can now apply to receive 15 hours childcare starting from September 2024.

Find out more information on the Childcare Choices website

Early Years

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Personal, Social and Emotional Development is a Prime Area of Learning, based on the central importance of these skills for all learning and development. 

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 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.’

Supporting children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • PSED 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.
  • PSED supports Communication and Language – within relationships that establish turn-taking, joint activity, a desire to communicate and understanding of shared meanings of words.
  • 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 celebrate what it is like to be them. Knowing that it is ‘good to be them’ is essential.
  • Support children to feel positive about what they do, celebrate their successes and achievements while learning from disappointments.
  • Reassure children when they are anxious and tell them that it is a normal feeling to have. Make sure you share information with parents.
  • Children need a sense of belonging; a key person system and key groups are an ideal opportunity to develop this.


Further Support


Education Endowment Foundation

The EEF and Sutton Trust are the government-designated What Works Centre for Education who aim to raise the attainment of 3-18 year olds, particularly those who are disadvantaged.

Early Years Toolkit – Social and emotional learning strategies explains how 3 months progress can be made by promoting social and emotional strategies in the setting. Early Years Toolkit - Self-regulation strategies explains how 5 months progress can be made by focusing on these skills.

Projects and evaluations This section features results from testing the impact of high-potential projects to generate new evidence of ‘what works’. Select ‘Early Years’ in the search drop down menu.

Guidance Report – Improving Social and Emotional Learning in Primary Schools This guidance document is part of a series of reports that the EEF produced and reviews the best available research to offer school leaders six practical recommendations to support good SEL for all children.

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