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Personal social and emotional development

  • 14 Pages
  • Published On: 14-12-2023

Explain with reference to key theorists, the importance of personal, social and emotional development in the overall context of children’s development.

Over decades, scientists and experts in the field of medicine have been searching for ways in children develop. Many questions have been raised over this area of study as Personal Social and Emotional Development (PSED) supports these children to learn and interact with others. Learning achievement and economic success in children has been greatly supported by early PSED (O’Connor, 2021). It has been considered as one of the three prime areas in the early years of foundation. This essay discusses the importance of PSED in child development with special reference to theories and concepts that were put forward by scholars.

Self confidence and self awareness is an important aspect of PSED in children. This gives the children confidence to engage in new activities giving them the power to choose by comparing more than one activity. According to Bandura’s social learning theory a child’s learning process does not directly come from experience much also comes from modelling and simple observations that a child picks while interacting with the surrounding environment (Deming & Johnson, 2019). These give these children confidence to speak in familiar groups and are able to share their views and thoughts. Parents could also contribute to building confidence within their children. By creating a loving and exiting environment, positive efforts are created to reinforce others ways in which a child may help to build confidence, character and resilience. Through self confidence children are able to believe in their own abilities and capabilities. Children that have confidence are able to challenge themselves in these learning environments. It enables these children to master their behaviour, learn new skills and be able to tackle obstacles that come their way.


Managing a child’s feeling and behaviour is another key area of PSED which allows these children to talk about how they feel about themselves and other children. According to Piaget’s cognitive development theory in children are less intelligent than adults and hence they think differently. He observed that a child’s behaviour and feelings were directly linked to their cognitive behaviour and passed different intellectual development stages (Babakr et al., 2019). Through sensory experience and manipulating objects at early stages, infants and toddlers are able to acquire knowledge. Basic reflexes sense and motor responses enables a child to acquire experience at an earliest stage. Cognitive development occurring at an early stage of child development takes relatively a short period of time that involves massive growth. It is at this stage that a child develops physical and emotional actions. The foundation of language is laid during this stage which marks the preoperational stage of development in a child. A child is able to learn and imitate certain behaviours by pretending to play but may struggle with logic and taking different points of view from grownups. These kids are able to learn and can distinguish unacceptable and acceptable behaviours which enables them to adjust to their behaviours and take routine.

PSED helps children in establishing relationships among themselves and with their care givers. Children play cooperatively by taking turns with others. They are sensitive to other children’s needs and feelings which enable them to form positive relationships with other children and adults. John Bowlby’s idea of attachment theory in child development emphasizes on innate needs of children to form attachments with their peers and their parents. He suggests that children come into this world biologically and have been programmed to form attachments with others (Mercer, 2018). According to Bowlby, conditions such as insecurity and separation have activated the attachment behaviours in these children. These attachments initially function like patterns that have been fixed and share a common function. Care and responsibility of parents to their children is the main determinant of attachment. Through these relationships, children have been able to take account of another’s ideas and how their activities have been organised. Children have been able to thrive well in loving and secure environments, which are provided by parents and key people that provide care to these children. When care givers or parents that this children have emotional attachments to leaves, this children cries and screams and protests angrily but will later cling on to other people. Children that have strong attachments at early stages are less aggressive and popular with other children and adults.

Child development studies are very vast and are important in greater human development process from early stages. According to Sigmund, a child’s experience at different stages in childhood directly affects their personality and behavioural patterns later in adulthood. Children go through a series of psychosexual stages that led to development of adult personality which were focused on an erogenous zone that is sensitive to stimulation (Mercer, 2018). Oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital stages form the five psychosexual stages of child development. At the age of five, personality is established as early experiences play a greater role in personality development. Parents should provide the support and encouragement that these children need at this stage. Negative outcomes of a child’s development and behavioural changes later come as a result of inappropriate parental responses during early stages of child growth. Ego and super ego of children are fully developed at this time, and hence care needs to be exercised when dealing with infants at this time.

Contrary to Sigmund’s theory of psychosexual development in children, a popular influential theory of development which focused more on psychosocial development was put forward by Erikson. According to Erikson, personality developed in a series of stages during a child’s growth. He describes the impact of social experience in an individual’s life with his interest aligned towards social interaction and relationship’s role in the growth and development of human beings (Houston, 2017). Each stage in Erikson’s theory helps in building the other proceeding stages believing that people experience conflict which in turn serves as a turning point in the later stages of development. Dealing with conflicts successfully as they occur helps a child strengthen psychologically and will serve them better as they grow up. Children that successfully build trust will feel safe and secure in the world they live in, hence identity formation and development during childhood develops well into adulthood.

Outline some key feature of effective practice in supporting children’s personal social and emotional development.

Emotional and social health affects the overall child development and learning process. According to research conducted by various scholars indicates that children who are mentally healthy tend to be happier and have appositive attitude towards school (Cantor et al., 2019). In an effort to model appropriate behaviour and positive attitude in children, best practice and activities are recommended in children. Making children feel secure in their environmental setting is key. This essay focuses on identifying key issues that have supported effective practice in supporting a child’s personal social and emotional development.

Observation and assessment gives guidance to practitioners and home care givers as to what they should look, listed and note during their daily time with these children. This will help parents to asses and identify which stage of development a child is at. This will help in planning on appropriate plays and learning experiences based on a child needs and interests. Observation and assessment of a child during their early stages of development promotes social and emotional development in children (Conners-Burrow et al, 2019). To understand what babies and children are like, how children respond to adult and other children and identifying a child’s special skills and qualities are all achieved from observation and assessment of a child’s behaviour during early developmental stages. Observation and assessment in children is important in

understanding learning and development process. Through constant observation, parents and caregivers are able to understand ways in which their children have made meaning to their worlds. Observation goes hand in hand with documenting, taking notes on a child’s development stage creates a narrative of what a child has done and achieved which provided documentary evidence of a child’s progress for future reference.

Routine is also considered as another key aspect of effective practice in supporting children’s personal social and emotional development. They help to re assure children as they begin to understand the structure of the day and be able to predict what comes next. This will help to reduce anxiety and support those children that are not able to understand verbal prompts. Activities that are familiar to children always provide comfort during the challenging and uncertain times (Mahoney et al, 2018). Children are able to feel more confident and secure when handling activities that are predictable and familiar. This key aspect helps children to feel completely in control of their work environments, feel secure, predict what comes next and know how to perform an activity or task. Infants and toddlers become familiar to activities and routines by developing relationships with the people they interact with daily.

Another key aspect of effective PSED practice is talking and listening. Talking to children by using their names and imitating their babbling makes them understand that are being considered too. Paying attention the signs and the non-verbal communication they give is vital. It is considered as a primary area personal social and emotional development in children. It is considered a prim area as it helps in building the foundation of other aspects of young children and their learning development (Cantor et al, 2019). It involves giving children an opportunity to speak and listen in a different range of situations. This is informed by three key areas which are listening and paying attention, understanding and speaking. Communication skills are crucial to the overall development in children. Research has been able to prove that good communication, language and literacy at a young age end up having higher correlations with outcomes in school.

Children and adults need to join in order to encourage and extend shared play time. This aspect is referred to as modelling. Children may need help from an adult to input play together and may take turns in playing. These games help to build the level of confidence of these children and are able to express themselves freely. Children learn behaviours and consequences of their actions depending on what sort of reinforcement those behaviours receive (Cantor et al, 2019). Positive reinforcement in children allows them to imitate behaviours from their parents or people they spend most of their time with. It is important for adults to reinforce positive behaviours whenever they are around children as through observation children can pick up aggressive behaviours. Exposure to negative influences should be limited or eliminated to child exposure, which helps in providing positive models to children.

Supporting children with additional emotional needs helps to determine how a child is feeling by displaying their behaviour. This helps in identifying children struggling with emotional health. Children my display excessively short attention span or aggressiveness towards their care givers (Mahoney et al, 2018). Care should be considered when handling children that require additional emotional support as they are varied reasons as to why a child may temporarily struggle emotionally. Support for these children enables them to feel confident and participate in school and community activities. Children are able to grow and achieve their goals when their needs are properly met. Individualised strategies are very beneficial are an effort to support children with additional needs.

Teachers have promoted the social and emotional well being of children in several ways that include, organizing rich environments that have materials that help to stimulate interactions between children. Teachers can support a child’s social well being by use of books, planning and providing cues. The heart and soul of a good teaching program in school should be able to cover area social and emotional wellbeing of all children (Conners-Burrow et al., 2019). Reading and discussing books with these children presents itself as an excellent way to identify their

behaviours and emotions relating to the characters in the book. The ability of teachers to provide cues and engage children in appropriate social behaviour has over time proven to improve social behaviours of children with their peers. Verbal cues help to actively involve children in participating in activities. Teachers and caregivers have actively been involved in promoting emotional and social well being in children. Evidence based strategies have been widely used by teachers intentionally to teach children and enhance their skills and reinforce positive behaviours. This is evident in children who have expressed their emotions in productive ways by being able to resolve conflicts, share and take turns in activities.

With reference to one aspect of PSED, discuss the role of practitioners in promoting personal, social and emotional development.

Personal social and emotional development is considered a prime area in early years foundation stage (EYFS). For practitioners, supporting the young to manage their behaviour and feelings involves understanding appropriate behaviours in these kids, developing social skills and learning how to relatively manage these feelings (Hester, Moral & Richards, 2021). Children need this supper from both their parents and care givers to help them regulate these feelings. Support from practitioners helps them to understand basic emotion, control their emotions and learn to effectively manage their feelings. This essay discusses the role played by medical practitioners in promoting PSED with reference to self confidence and self-esteem.

This aspect focuses on how children develop confidence in what they do and who they are and how their ideas are expressed. As much as children have so many people who care about them, they need additional help from medical practitioners. Their behavioural and cognitive behaviour greatly depends on their upbringing (Manfredi et al, 2018). This helps them to feel valued and special giving them a sense of self-worth and acceptance giving them confidence. Self-confidence and self esteem helps children to believe in their own abilities and capabilities. Children are able to challenge themselves in different learning environments.

Self confident children gain trust their abilities to master their behaviour, tackle problems and learn new skills. Practitioners can help build self esteem and confidence in children by praising them for the activities they have undertaken for the whole day (Seaman & Giles, 2019). A child accomplishing a simple task assigned to them should be highly recognised as praising them gives them the urge and strengthen to do more tasks that may come their way. These simple tasks such as zipping up their coats should be considered huge achievements for these children as most of adult people don’t think twice about them.

Practitioners can also enhance self esteem and confidence by encouraging their independence. Encouraging a child to perform a task without an adult’s involvement is a crucial learning opportunity. Encouraging a child to correctly put of their shoes and tie their shoe laces acts a learning ground away from supervision (Manfredi et al, 2018). Doing this repeatedly gives the child self confidence and encourages them. This is considered important as it gives extra time for the child to attempts these tasks for themselves and can exercise some form of patience while doing it. Encouraging them once they are done with these tasks is vital and can create an overwhelming sense of pride for the child.

Practitioners can also enhance social development in children by building a relationship and developing a bond between them and the children. A source of comfort between a practitioner and a patient develops in a setting that is away from their families and primary care givers. This relationship enhances a child’s sense of self-confidence allowing them to explore and forge new relationships with other children and staff (Garvey, 2017). This gives them a base to come back to when seeking comfort and a confidant. Social interactions can also be promoted by managing activities that involves teamwork and sharing. Children learn to get along with other adults and their peers by establishing stronger relationships between them. Children need role models in order to achieve all this, medical practitioners should be able to show these children how to relate positively with other people and the society they live in. This developmental stage is far-ranging and complex and adults have continued to struggle to ensure that it is adopted effectively.

Growing emotionally in children allows them to understand their own feelings and emotions as well as those of other peers (Hester, Moral & Richards, 2021). Practitioners encourage children to share their feelings and make them understand that it is ok to feel whatever the feel. The first step of a child recognising their emotions is by taking about them which helps them to cope. Emotional development in children is informed by two aspects which involve understanding and managing their own feelings. Through telling stories and giving examples of scenarios, practitioners have enabled children to learn to empathise with others. This is important as it allows the child to understand that others also feel the same emotions they do.

Self belief in children is created by practitioners by creating an environment that will help these children achieve this. Children do not like to be pushed around or dragged into situations that out of their comfort zone (Garvey, 2017). Pressuring a child into doing something they do not like can have negative effects on their level of confidence. It is vital for the early year’s practitioners to support children in this area of learning. Practitioners can stay with these children talk to them and help them deal with their frustrations. As much as practitioners should there to guide them, children should be allowed to master these skills on their own giving them curve for learning.

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Building a child’s confidence at an early stage is crucial. A loving environment, encouragement and excitement are a positive effort that has been made by medical practitioners in an attempt to reinforce confidence in children. Self confidence enables these children to believe in their own abilities and capabilities. Babies are not born with these skills and hence require help in order to learn it. Key qualities for a person’s growth include resilience, a child sense of confidence and their character. Interactions and experiences around them have helped to shape an individual’s personal growth. Early years foundation stage is a very critical age which children learn the skill of confidence they need in order to become actively involved in the world around them. Personal development involves children understanding who they are and what they are capable of doing. Social development covers how children make an understanding of how they relate with others and the society around them. Children make friends through a social understanding of the society and its rules by behaving towards them. Emotional development involves how children understand their own feelings and the critical role played by practitioners in helping them achieve this. Practioners have helped children to understand another person’s point of view and understand their feelings too.


Babakr, Z. H., Mohamedamin, P., & Kakamad, K. (2019). Piaget's Cognitive Developmental Theory: Critical Review. Education Quarterly Reviews, 2(3), 517-524.

Cantor, P., Osher, D., Berg, J., Steyer, L., & Rose, T. (2019). Malleability, plasticity, and individuality: How children learn and develop in context1. Applied Developmental Science, 23(4), 307-337.

Conners-Burrow, N. A., Patrick, T., Kyzer, A., & McKelvey, L. (2017). A preliminary evaluation of REACH: Training early childhood teachers to support children’s social and emotional development. Early Childhood Education Journal, 45(2), 187-199.

Deming, P., & Johnson, L. L. (2019). An application of Bandura’s social learning theory: A new approach to deafblind support groups. JADARA, 42(4), 5.

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Hester, S., Moran, L., & Richards, E. (2021). Reimagining Children's Behaviour and Behaviour Management “Otherwise”: A Critical Commentary on the English Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Child Care in Practice, 1-16.

Houston, S. (2017). Towards a critical ecology of child development in social work: aligning the theories of Bronfenbrenner and Bourdieu. Families, relationships and societies, 6(1), 53-69.

Mahoney, J. L., Durlak, J. A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2018). An update on social and emotional learning outcome research. Phi Delta Kappan, 100(4), 18-23.

Manfredi, S., Vickers, L., & Clayton-Hathway, K. (2018). The public sector equality duty: Enforcing equality rights through second-generation regulation. Industrial Law Journal, 47(3), 365-398.

Mercer, J. A. (2018). Child development: concepts and theories. SAGE.

O'Connor, A. (2021). in focus…: PSED. Nursery World Select, 2021(4), 20-22.

Savage, M., & Barnett, A. (2017). Technology-enhanced learning in the early years foundation stage. Critical Publishing

Seaman, H., & Giles, P. (2019). Supporting children’s social and emotional well-being in the early years: An exploration of practitioners’ perceptions. Early Child Development and Care, 1-15.

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