Judge Heath Lane, Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 2PD

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Personal, Social and Emotional Curriculum

 Personal, social and emotional curriculum Policy.pdfDownload
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Curriculum Intent: 

We believe that from birth, children are strong, competent, motivated and confident learners who explore and test their ideas, solve problems, and attempt to make sense of their world. We recognise that learning needs to be first-hand, experiential and active; it should promote children’s independence and autonomy, encouraging them to take responsibility for their own learning – initiating and making decisions.  Learning needs to take place in the social context and we believe ‘talk’ is central to the learning process. We also understand that learning cannot take place unless children’s emotional needs are met and they feel safe to take risks.  Therefore our setting prioritises this as the most essential part of the curriculum delivery. To ensure we are able to have effective early years provision, we need our teaching team to have a sound knowledge and deep understanding of personal, social and emotional development.  PSED is fundamental to the holistic development of the child.  In our Centre, we endeavour to encourage a sense of high self-esteem in all children so that they are able to develop positive relationships, develop pro-social behaviours and self–regulation.  

The development matters (2022) states,

‘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.’

PSED is one of the three prime areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Each prime area is divided into early learning goals, for PSED these are:

  • Self-Regulation - Show an understanding of their own feelings and those of others, and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly; - Set and work towards simple goals, being able to wait for what they want and control their immediate impulses when appropriate; Give focused attention to what the teacher says, responding appropriately even when engaged in activity, and show an ability to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.
  • Managing Self - Be confident to try new activities and show independence, resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge; Explain the reasons for rules, know right from wrong and try to behave accordingly; Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing, going to the toilet and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.
  • Building Relationships - Work and play cooperatively and take turns with others; Form positive attachments to adults and friendships with peers; Show sensitivity to their own and to others' needs.

What does the teaching of personal, social and emotional development look like?

Our aims are to teach children self-regulation and support executive function, which we believe is crucial to developing a good understanding of

Self-regulation and executive function

Executive function includes the child’s ability to:

  • hold information in mind
  • focus their attention
  • think flexibly
  • inhibit impulsive behaviour

These abilities contribute to the child’s growing ability to self-regulate:

  • Concentrate their thinking
  • Plan what to do next
  • Monitor what they are doing and adapt
  • Regulate strong feelings
  • Be patient for what they want
  • Bounce back when things get difficult.

Language development is central to self-regulation: children use language to guide their actions and plans.

Pretend play gives many opportunities for children to focus their thinking, persist and plan ahead.

Making relationships

This involves children developing knowledge, skills and learning:

  • Knowing what supports good relationships
  • Work and play cooperatively and take turns with others;
  • Ability to form positive attachments to adults
  • Ability to form positive attachments to peers;
  • Show sensitivity to their own and to others' needs.
  • Recognising emotions and how to self-regulate and show empathy to others
  • Being able to negotiate and communicate needs in a pro-social way
  • Recognising and accepting other people’s needs and wants

Managing Self

This involves children developing knowledge, skills and learning:

  • Be confident to try new activities
  • Learning skills of independence
  • Developing resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge;
  • Knowledge of why there are rules and the ability the reasons for rules, know right from wrong and try to behave accordingly;
  • Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing, going to the toilet and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.


We teach this area using our induction process, environment, positive relationships, routines, and modelling. The delivery of curriculum in these areas is not in isolation.

How do we teach?

Positive relationships

  • Ensuring we assign the appropriate key person so that there is always a person in the setting which is ‘holding’ the child
  • Ensuring that our induction process is tailored to meet both the parents and children’s needs so they are introduced to the nursery setting in a positive way
  • Being a role model and praising children who demonstrate pro-social behaviours.
  • Developing positive relationships with parents

The provision of an Enabling Environment

  • Routines reassure children as they begin to understand the structure of the day and predict what is coming next. This helps to cut anxiety. You could use a visual timetable to support children who aren't able to understand verbal prompts yet.
  • Planning for encouraging children to be independent such as having a ‘getting ready’ bench outside where they can put their wellies and coats on
  • Thinking about spaces where they can role-model and re-enact home life situations’ to develop a positive self-image
  • Having a check-in box as they arrive in the setting so they can post a happy or sad picture in a box, which enables staff to be aware of them in the setting and to ensure they are able to support them when they are feeling sad
  • Ensuring that there are resources which support positive images of all, cultures, beliefs, gender, disabilities etc.
  • Promoting awareness and respect for the natural environment.
  • The environment is planned to give the opportunity to have a choice and engage in sustained play
  • Use of visual timetables around the nursery
  • Individualised timetables for children if they require
  • Having spaces where children can have ‘quiet’ time
  • Sensory spaces both inside and outside
  • Keyworker bases and individual folders children can place their ‘work’ in
    • Teaching about feelings

      Children need to learn to recognise their feelings and learn the words to label them. They will need to be taught to recognise their feelings and what could make them feel more regulated.

    • Adult recognises the emotion.
    • Adult names the emotion for the child.
    • Adult provides some comfort.
    • Adult offers a solution.
      •  For example, staff recognise and name the feeling “I can see you are getting very frustrated with that toy - it's not working properly is it? Let's see if a cuddle might help and we can look at it together".

        By repeating this four-stage approach every day the child can learn to manage their feelings themselves.

        We also use a feelings box to help support this learning as well as how we have sequenced of our teaching in our planning.

        Long-term planning

        At McMillan we have designed our curriculum to be ambitious, outlining clear learning objectives we are teaching our children. We teach these through our provision in the indoor and outdoor environment.

        Medium term planning

        Our plans document the termly learning objectives and what themes and key texts will be used.

        We use termly data for groups which informs the termly planning where possible to meet the needs of the children.

        Enrichment planning

        We plan the delivery of the learning objectives using themes. These plans are evaluated weekly with staff.

        Weekly planning

        Daily adult-led group times ensure that every child has explicit teaching of the prime and specific areas of learning.

        Responsive planning

        Staff hold daily evaluation meetings, which enables them to reflect on children’s self- initiated learning, interests and possible lines of enquiry which informs the provision plan for the next day.

        Leuven scales- process orientation forms (POMS)

        We fundamentally believe that children can only engage in learning when they are feeling happy. Therefore we assess our children’s well-being and involvement to ascertain what we need to do to support their learning and plan for their next steps.  A lack of involvement and well-being may indicate that a child’s development will be threatened. Therefore, Ferre Laevers created a 5-point scale to measure both involvement and wellbeing of the children. The higher the degrees of involvement and wellbeing we can achieve for the children, the more we can increase their well-being and the more they are supported in their development. Higher levels of involvement and wellbeing indicate that the child is experiencing a deeper level learningWe carry out POMS assessments termly and are continually reflecting and planning for next steps.

      Observation, Assessment, Monitoring and Record-Keeping

      Key-workers and the whole teaching team observe and monitor children’s skills and stages of development. Observations are recorded on the Famly App.


      Records of individual children’s progress and achievement are kept electronically on tiny tracker. These records inform planning, identify specific targets for each child, may identify a learning difficulty or talent, and provide the school with the means to monitor cohort progress and collect data on the effectiveness of the provision.

      Data collected each half-term will identify children requiring additional support of challenging in the two strands of this specific area of learning (see Medium-term Planning)

      Children’s progress in Personal, Social and Emotional development is shared with parents/carers during the child’s Curriculum Consultation at the mid-point of their time at the Nursery. This enables two-way sharing of information and the planning of “next steps”.

      Supporting  All our Children’s Needs

      • Provision will be made to meet the individual requirements of children with any additional needs, to enable them to make progress in their Physical Development and achieve their full potential, eg through specific targets as part of an Individual Support Plan.
      • Staff will liaise and work closely with other professionals involved with the child and respond to the advice they offer.
      • Where necessary, resources and equipment to support children with additional needs will be procured from other agencies.

      Health & Safety – Managing Risk

      At McMillan, we believe that risk-taking is an integral part of promoting a positive sense of self and resilience.

      “It is counter-productive to focus on keeping children away from every risk, however slight. We are likely to create a boring environment for them, without challenge or excitement. We also project an image of ourselves as people who block children’s interests and curiosity”

      Jennie Lindon, “Too Safe for Their Own Good” 2011

      • The Health and Safety of the children is paramount. Staff check resources and areas on a daily basis and remove or report anything which may present a danger or health-risk. Children are encouraged to consider their own and others safety both indoors and outdoors eg using “walking feet” indoors.
      • The outdoor play area is “zoned” to ensure that activities can be undertaken safely and uninterrupted.
      • Within the Health and Self-care aspect, children are taught the importance of personal hygiene eg hand-washing, disposing of used paper tissues etc.
      • We have a risk assessment in place and a health and safety team who review this
      • Children’s dietary needs and medical conditions such as allergies are considered in the planning and provision of activities and snacks.

      The Role of the Subject- Co-ordinator

      The Subject Co-ordinator is responsible for

      • Curriculum intent and  implementation and reviewing of the Policy for Physical Development
      • The development and auditing of this area of learning
      • ensuring that all children receive their entitlement to all the elements of this area of learning
      • monitoring and evaluating the quality of teaching and learning in this area and the children’s progress against Birth to five matters
      • monitoring, maintaining and ordering resources
      • supporting colleagues in their understanding and delivery of this area of learning
      • Identifying and attending relevant courses to promote continued professional development (CPD) feedback back to the Headteacher and staff.
      • ensure equality of opportunity and access to all aspects of personal, social and emotional development
      • Liaise with the Governor with curriculum responsibility in order to support their monitoring.