Personal, Social & Emotional Development Policy


This policy is a statement of the aims, principals and strategies for learning and teaching within the area of Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED).

The policy was developed by the subject co-ordinator, in conjunction with the staff-team and a member of the Governing body with curricular responsibility.

What is Personal, Social and Emotional Development in the Foundation Stage?

The EYFS 2012 states that:

“Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities. “

Under the Revised EYFS 2012 Personal, Social and Emotional Development is a “Prime Area”, in recognition of the need to promote an awareness of the fundamental importance of developing positive relationships, developing self-confidence, being able to recognise and manage feelings and respecting self and others from an early age.

“Prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive”         EYFS 2012

This Prime Area of Personal, Social and Emotional Development is broken down into three aspects:

Making relationships:

This is supporting children to build successful relationships with other children and adults, learning to play co-operatively, taking turns with others and learning friendly behaviour towards others. Children learn sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, learning to resolve conflict, listen to others and ask questions.

Self-confidence and self-awareness:

Children are supported to develop confidence to try new activities, developing their own interests and independence in selecting activities and resources. They become more confident to speak to others and in a familiar group, learning to ask for help, talk about their ideas, needs and opinions. Children learn to talk about themselves and their abilities in positive terms

Managing feelings and behaviour:

Children are supported to learn about their own feelings and how to express them appropriately, learning about feelings and wishes of others, accepting and supporting the needs of others.  They learn about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, learning simple boundaries and routines and that some behaviour is unacceptable.  They learn to adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.

The EYFS (2012) states

“Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments”.

To this end, At Hadfield Nursery School, we recognise;

Each child is Unique

Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured”.   EYFS 2012

  • We value each child as an individual, accepting their individual needs and rates of development
  • We recognise each child as a competent learner
  • We accept and recognise each child’s ability, disability, gender, race, and cultural background, so enabling them to enjoy equality of opportunity and support to reach their full potential.
  • We aim to support children in recognising that their views count and that their opinion is valued, especially by following their interests

The Importance of Positive Relationships

“Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.” EYFS 2012


  • We form warm, caring attachments with our children, within key worker groups and beyond, respecting individual feelings and needs. The key person will nurture a special relationship with a group of children and their families.
  • We find opportunities to give encouragement to children, with practitioners acting as positive role models for behaviour and relationships with others, taking account of different needs and expectations.
  • We aim to guide and support our children’s developing social and emotional skills by careful observation, assessment and then planning.
  • We plan for opportunities for children to play and learn in different situations, sometimes alone and sometimes in groups of varying sizes. We give opportunities, space and time to develop their personal, social and emotional skills.
  • We aim to support children to work together and begin to take account of ideas and preferences which differ from their own.
  • We aim to establish caring, professional relationships with families to promote understanding of the importance of children’s development in this prime area. We work together for the best outcomes for their child, respecting parents/carers as their first and enduring educator.

The provision of an Enabling Environment

“Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.” EYFS 2012


  • observe children at play in order to understand and consider their current interests, development and learning
  • provide challenging, flexible, motivating resources and opportunities which support and develop the skills, confidence, independence, creativity and imagination of each child
  • provide a safe, secure environment, where each child can grow in confidence, communicate ideas, make friends, work collaboratively, make choices and grow in independence
  • plan an environment where children are able to persevere, concentrate and pursue their own interests.
  • Create an ethos where it is ‘safe’ to make mistakes, to share thoughts and ideas, explore different options
  • provide resources which are accessible and organised in ways which encourage independence and responsibility (Continuous Provision)
  • plan daily opportunities for children to explore and practice their social skills, both at group time and during self-initiated opportunities
  • provide time and enhanced support for children with additional needs to develop their social and emotional well-being and interactional skills and reach their fullest potential. The school works closely with Support Specialists such as Educational Psychologist, Behavioural Support, Health Visitors and others to ensure that additional support is targeted appropriately.

Learning and Teaching within Personal, Social and Emotional Development


We believe that Personal, Social and Emotional Development is a vital area of learning.  It permeates every aspect of life and provides our children with the best opportunity to achieve and be successful in all other areas of learning.

The children learn by:

  • observing and emulating the staff’s positive role models
  • recognising, acknowledging, naming and differentiating emotions
  • use recognition of emotion to support them to manage their behaviour
  • having opportunities to explore and practice interactions with others
  • exploring an environment which is exciting, challenging, well-resourced and safe
  • sharing in the delight shown when new discoveries are made
  • sharing in decision making and in having their opinions heard and valued
  • experiencing the courteous and positive manner in which the staff relate to them
  • the encouragement and qualified praise they receive for their efforts and perseverance, promoting self-esteem and a desire to keep trying
  • celebrating children’s acts of kindness and helpfulness towards each other through our system of stickers, notes and well-done certificates
  • learning our simple nursery rules to develop and apply an understanding of right and wrong in their school life and extend to life outside school
  • being involved in carefully planned and structured circle time activities and consistent staff support to:
  • negotiate solutions in times of conflict
  • listen and respond appropriately to the views of others
  • take initiatives and act responsibly with consideration for others
  • show respect for each other
  • show respect for the environment
  • understand the consequences of their actions
  • make appropriate and informed decisions and choices
  • cope with setbacks and learn from mistakes


At Hadfield Nursery School Practitioners:

  • Ensure that this area of learning permeates through all aspects of nursery education and daily life within this school.
  • Plan for regular activities that promote emotional, social and moral development, encouraging children to work independently, as part of small groups and as part of larger groups
  • Recognise, and are committed to, the value of the importance of PSED in learning and getting on with others. We aim to share these beliefs and promote understanding with parents and carers as well as with the children
  • Develop an understanding of children’s individual and group identity and their unique value
  • Develop children’s positive self-image and an awareness of their rights and responsibilities
  • Support children to form and maintain worthwhile and satisfying relationships
  • Teach and model friendly behaviour, cooperation and collaboration with others, turn taking and listening to another viewpoint
  • Develop children’s awareness of their own feelings and the needs and feelings of others
  • Teach strategies to resolve conflict and to compromise
  • Support effective communication (including the use of augmentative systems)
  • Support children to help others in school and the wider community
  • Help children develop personal qualities valued in society e.g. honesty, consideration, independence and self-respect
  • Support children to exercise leadership and responsibility
  • Ensure children take part in a range of activities requiring social skills
  • Observe and record children’s development in this area and plan next steps accordingly
  • Observe and listen to children to better understand their interests
  • Provide experiences which develop our children’s excitement in learning
  • Provide opportunities to experience a range of social contexts to broaden social competencies
  • Support and guide vulnerable children, including children with behavioural and communication difficulties

Planning for Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Planning at Hadfield Nursery School is devised in line with the EYFS Statutory Framework and Guidance (“Development Matters” 2012) and from observation and assessment of children’s needs. It includes;

  • Long term planning: PSED has a year-long planning cycle to incorporate into group time activities. This, incorporates the SEAL strategy (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning), principles from ‘A Box Full of Feelings’ (a resource to explore feelings for young children) and planning to incorporate Persona Dolls to explore equality, respect and tolerance.  This ensures all aspects are covered over the course of the school year.
  • Long term planning: Continuous provision plans include reference to developing PSED within areas of provision
  • Medium term planning: the SEAL strategy (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) follows a 6 theme rolling programme, of which 1 theme is planned for each half-term
  • Medium term planning also includes exploration of and discussion of element/s of feelings each half-term.
  • Short-Term “Focused planning is undertaken each week by key workers, taken from the medium term planning objectives and also covering issues which may have arisen that week for the children in their group. This ensures that basic skills are taught within the key worker group
  • Continuous support for children during self chosen activities and interactions with others so this aspect permeates through every aspect of our provision.

Planning for PSED takes account of:

  • Individual stages of development within development bands with an understanding that children develop at different rates and in different ways.
  • Observations made of the children.
  • Individual Support Plans (I.S.Ps) for children with additional needs.
  • Preferred learning styles (Visual/Auditory/Kinetic)
  • Monitoring and Evaluation.

Observation, Assessment, Monitoring and Record-Keeping

Children’s skills and stages of development are observed and monitored by key-workers and the whole teaching team. Observations are made to contribute to children’s electronic Learning Journeys and are usually supported by photographs. These observations include judgements on Levels of Well-being and Involvement (Laevers).

Records of individual children’s progress and achievement are kept electronically as part of each child’s “Markbook” on Classroom Monitor. These observations and 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.

Our collection of data on levels of Involvement and Well-being (Ferre Laevers) tracks and measures attainment of children’s emotional and motivational levels in school.

Data collected each term is used to identify children who may need additional support in this area.

Children’s progress in PSED is shared with parents/carers during consultations, during their first term and at the mid-point of their time in 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 PSED Development and achieve their full potential.
  • Some children may need additional support in this area, through Positive Play intervention or 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.

Equal Opportunities

At Hadfield Nursery School we aim to offer children and their families a safe environment, free from harassment and discrimination, in which children’s contributions are valued and where racial and religious beliefs are respected.

We aim to challenge discrimination on the grounds of gender or disability.

All children will be treated as individuals and they will have full access to all elements of the PSED provision and opportunities, regardless of gender, ability/disability, race or cultural background.

Health & Safety

It is the Nursery’s aim to provide a safe, secure and supportive environment in which pupils can develop personal skills relating to their understanding of being safe.  All staff have a major contribution to make towards the safety of the children in the Nursery and in helping them develop skills that will help them to look after themselves and keep themselves safe.  The mid-day staff provide opportunities to encourage self-help skills, independence and responsibility.

The Role of the Subject Co-ordinator

The Subject Co-ordinator is responsible for:

  • the writing and reviewing of the Policy for PSED
  • 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 towards ELG’s
  • 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) and to feed-back to the staff
  • ensure equality of opportunity and access to all aspects of PSED
  • liaise with the Governor with curriculum responsibility for PSED in order to support their monitoring

Linked Documentation

This policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies:

  • Policy for Equalities, Differences and Cohesion
  • Behaviour, Discipline and Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Policy for Teaching and Learning
  • Assessment and Recording Policy
  • Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) Policy (incorporating Modern British Values)
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